On a tour of South Ossetia you see this billboard, what is your reaction?
I’m going to be posting pictures of South Ossetia this week with my posts. I’ve come across some interesting ones and just wanted to share them. Some have lessons or observations attached, others are just to give people a sense that Ossetia is real. I think a lot of Americans really don’t fully understand just how big the world is, and that it’s filled with people living their daily lives just like Americans. And this is getting worse as each generation gets more of their “real world” knowledge from talking heads on TV, instead of actually going outside and looking at the real world. I won’t be blogging entirely about Georgia this week, but it will not be far below the surface either.
First, the billboard above. This billboard made Senator McCain angry when he visited South Ossetia two years ago. Why did this make him angry? Because this billboard is on “sovereign Georgian territory.” This encapsulates so much of what is wrong with McCain’s world view that I just had to comment on it. So what does McCain’s anger reveal? First of all, that he doesn’t really give a damn about what the South Ossetians think of their situation, or at the very least he thinks there is something “wrong” about them expressing their opinions. I suspect he thinks they are “misguided” or even coerced into supporting Putin, there just simply doesn’t any room in his world view for people to reasonably not want to be under a “democratic” government. Of course holding elections doesn’t make a country a democracy any more than standing in a garage makes one a car, but I digress. In McCain’s view, sovereignty trumps self-determination, at least in regards to the Georgia and Ossetia situation. He has made that very clear, and now claims that Russian troops “occupy” South Ossetia. Boy, I bet he’d be upset by the sign now, because it probably reads “Putin is our Saviour.”
Many Americans can’t really grasp the idea that Putin is very popular with many people, not all of them Russians. Even fewer grasp that we should have made Russia an ally after the collapse of the Soviet Union, instead of trying to isolate and eviscerate them. It’s really been nuts, we’ve continued to act like the Russians are the “evil empire,” and by doing so have created what we feared most, a resurgent Russia determined to remain an independent and influential player on the world stage. I’ve written about this before and will no doubt write about it again. Justin Raimondo has some interesting historical observations along those lines, just ignore his forays into excessively annoying liberalism.
Iran launched a satellite, which engendered another round of accusations from the USA. It’s been nice having Russia replace Iran as the bogeyman-du-jour for the past week or so, though replacing one irritant with another isn’t really so much a relief as a change of pace. It’s truly appalling to me how much the mainstream media in the USA simply parrots the administration line, and even more appalling how so many Americans simply bleat in unison. I’m beginning to think that many Americans have been so brainwashed with this idea that the world consists of nothing but terrible Hitleresque threats to the USA, that they can’t see the world in terms of anything else. The most powerful nation the world has ever seen, with a military with mind-numbing firepower at its disposal, but we have to live in a state of constant anxiety about any number of enemies? It’s just plain weird.
In Pakistan, Musharraf has resigned under pressure. He has ruled Pakistan with near dictatorial powers for nine years, so Pakistan is entering a new era. The mainstream media is reporting he was a “key USA ally” in the “War on Terror.” Since the “War on Terror” isn’t a real war, the observation is both simplistic and wrong. Musharraf was threatened into going along with American’s invasion of Afghanistan, and he’s always been an enemy of Islamic fundamentalists because they wanted to remove him from power, but that doesn’t make him an ally, it makes him a minion at best. Musharraf never gave a rat’s ass about the War on Terror, he had his own problems to deal with. Now he has fewer of them, it will be interesting who steps up to the plate in Pakistan now. If democracy takes hold, it’s a good bet that an Islamic government will be voted into office. Now won’t that be fun?
“Russians, Iranians, and Islamists – oh my!” Can we change the channel now, I’m tired of this show.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. Credit and copyright: Nicu Popesco. This billboard was in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, a small now mostly destroyed town of maybe 25,000 people.)