His Master's Voice - Macleans.ca

His Master’s Voice



August 11, 2008
Ottawa, Ontario

In a statement released today, Prime Minister Harper condemned Russia’s incursions into Georgian territory far beyond South Ossetia, including into already tense Abkhazia.

“Russian and Georgian forces must immediately cease hostilities throughout Georgia and return to their August 6 positions,” he said. “Furthermore, in escalating the conflict through its attacks on Georgian towns and cities outside South Ossetia, Russia has ceased to act as a peacekeeper. It is imperative that Russia respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.”

Prime Minister Harper added that “Military force will not resolve this dispute. The only viable long-term solution is international mediation and peacekeeping.”

From the August 10th interview on NBC with George W. Bush:

THE PRESIDENT: I said this violence is unacceptable — I not only said it to Vladimir Putin, I’ve said it to the President of the country, Dmitriy Medvedev. And my administration has been engaged with both sides in this, trying to get a cease-fire, and saying that the status quo ante for all troops should be August 6th. And, look, I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia.

It was just interesting to me that here we are trying to promote peace and harmony and we’re witnessing a conflict take place.

Q Right, no Olympic truce in this case.

THE PRESIDENT: There wasn’t. And I was very firm with Vladimir Putin — he and I have got a good relationship — just like I was firm with the Russian President. And hopefully this will get resolved peacefully. There needs to be a international mediation there for the South Ossetia issue.

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His Master’s Voice

  1. What I’m struck by is the two heads of government rejecting the use of force, Harper explicitly, Bush by not referring to the “immediate military aid” Billy Kristol so loved in this morning’s Times. Now, as we try to figure out whether it’s the lack of a roadmap to NATO accession that gave Russia the green light — the position of my Polish and Estonian friends — the question you have to ask is: if Georgia was closer to NATO membership, would the US and Canada be closer to pledging force to defend it? I think the answer is no. And I think it’s far more dangerous to make alliance commitments you don’t mean than it is to be reluctant to make meaningless commitments. If that’s at all comprehensible.

  2. How much is Harper’s response a serious concern and rehashing of Bush’s statement, and how much is to deflect media time from Hurricane Finley and the CON games before the In-and-out skullduggery…

  3. PW – I agree entirely. A colleague asked me this morning what my thoughts were on the Russia/Georgia thing, and it occurred to me that I had none, really. I gave it twenty seconds of thought, and what I came up with were two things: First, the overwhelmingly anti-Russia tone of the media coverage. Second — is Georgia really the sort of country with which Canada should be entering into a mutual defence pact?

    Put bluntly: If Russia wants to fight Georgia over some Caucasian wasteland, what business is it of ours?

  4. Cute, if lazy, header on this post Andrew.

  5. Amazing what “free” won’t buy in the way of headers these days.

  6. you’re not quoting Stringband, are you?

  7. I guess “Allies with similar interests make similar statements” doesn’t come off as glib and bloggy as what you were aiming for. A cutting headline in search of a substantive point.

  8. Did George W. Bush just use “status quo ante” in an interview? Did that just happen? I’m trying to picture that particular Latin blurb in a Texas accent and I just can’t do it.