Today in Empty Gestures II

Like most everyone around here, I read with much interest the Wells/Coyne debate over Russia/Georgia. And like most everyone around here, I score it Wells by a TKO.

As far as I can tell, AC’s argument boils down to the following:

P1. For decades, NATO has proven time and again that it has no collective resolve.
P2. We need to do something to make sure Russia doesn’t go any further.
C. We need to admit Georgia to NATO as a sign of NATO’s collective resolve.


Well, as far as empty gestures go, it at least has the virtue of at least pretending we’d be willing to help Georgia (or Poland, or the Baltics, etc.). And I guess as far as fake resolve goes, it is better than what Marcus Gee suggests, which is kicking Russia out of the G8 and the WTO.

But Gee is just echoing Charles Krauthammer, who has this to offer by way of support for Georgia:

1. Suspend the NATO-Russia Council established in 2002 to help bring Russia closer to the West. Make clear that dissolution will follow suspension. The council gives Russia a seat at the NATO table. Message: Invading neighboring democracies forfeits the seat.

2. Bar Russian entry to the World Trade Organization.

3. Dissolve the G-8. Putin’s dictatorial presence long made it a farce but no one wanted to upset the bear by expelling it. No need to. The seven democracies simply withdraw. Then immediately announce the reconstitution of the original G-7.

4. Announce a U.S.-European boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. To do otherwise would be obscene. Sochi is 15 miles from Abkhazia, the other Georgian province just invaded by Russia. The Games will become a riveting contest between the Russian, Belarusian and Jamaican bobsled teams.

Look, when the most aggressive thing even Charles Krauthammer can think of doing is boycotting an Olympics scheduled for six years from now, it is pretty obvious that Russia didn’t call anyone’s bluff. Whatever bluff might ever have existed was called eons ago.

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