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August 10, 2008

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GMax

Big Power and Germany do not belong in the same sentence. They no longer can fight their way out of a wet paper bag. They lack the troops, the hardware, the logistical support and probably the support of the people.

Terry Gain

Criticisms of the messiah's initial statement are very unfair. Before it was necessary to issue a statement there was barely time to consult with his 300 foreign policy advisors, let alone conduct a poll.

kim

Don't distract me while I'm chasing the horse Edwards let out of the barn, and looking for the Easter Egg hidden in the 'typical white person's' attic.
===========================

PrestoPundit

Ben Smith is a left leaning, Obama supporter.

That is my judgment after witnessing his deeply dishonest coverage of the Obama, Sr.'s Socialist Economics for Kenya Paper story.

PrestoPundit

Ben Smith is a left leaning, Obama supporter.

That is my judgment after witnessing his deeply dishonest coverage of the Obama, Sr.'s Socialist Economics for Kenya Paper story.

anduril

Over on the earlier Georgia thread I linked this article: A new dividing line in Europe. The article is by M. K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan (I think). The article dates back to March, 2007, and you will quickly see that Georgia is a linchpin to a much bigger geo-political competition than most accounts suggest. Yes, Kosovo enters into the mix, but there's a helluva lot more going on, much of it having to do with--you guessed it--OIL. Grand Strategies are all fine and good, even indispensable, but at some point the rubber meets the road.

davod

"Criticisms of the messiah's initial statement are very unfair. Before it was necessary to issue a statement there was barely time to consult with his 300 foreign policy advisors, let alone conduct a poll."

How does he pick who to give him advice?

Sio

Saakashvili is war criminal. He won't go to trial. He won't give up his guns. He needs a daddy and NATO won't kill the bad Russians. So, Obama will say the Russians are bad and should stop. Daddy thinks war criminals shouldn't have guns cause it's more work and NATO won't help, so it's better we take away all the bad man's guns first. He has a strange way of claiming Georgians. He kills them all.

PeterUK

"Saakashvili is war criminal."

But is he? The scenario has be constructed to look like Kosovo,but with one big difference,the strategic oil pipeline which would give Russia a stranglehold on the region's oil supplies.

PeterUK

Russia expands the conflict,America pulls out.

glasater

Not sure where you get the idea that Saakashvili is a war criminal.

The wiki link does not put it that way--in fact he sounds quite a bit better than some Russian thugs we've read about through the years.

kim

Pray for the Kodori Gorgious Georgians. The two provinces are lost and we won't lift a wheel if Putin leaves the rest of Georgia alone. Putin didn't invade before the Olympics like a foolish predecessor did. He waited until he had Bush flatfooted. Yes, the world got a peek at the soul of Putin, the Olympic God.
============================

kim

Don't forget though, Bush can get that cross-eyed gunslinger look. He'll make Putin pay for this pipeline. Europe will yap at his knees rather than bite his ankles for the rest of his term. With any luck, McCain can consolidate our allies over there to win the next Cold War. Obama, now, he's hot. He'd get hateful and go ballistic, a la Wright.
=============================

Soylent Red

This whole thing revolves around oil and natural gas transportation from Central Asia to Europe. And Russia's control of it.

It is always, always, always about the money with the Russians, and the money is always about oil and natural gas. Knowing that makes it pretty easy to determine which is center ring.

The separatist movement/ethnic Russian/repression/what-have-you lines of reasoning are all, to coin a phrase, distractions.

Soylent Red

he's hot

Is that a Paris Hilton reference?

Rick Ballard

Peter,

I'd say the US did the right thing in pulling out the trainers. For the moment. It takes one propaganda element away from the Russians. The Ukraine's reaction is interesting, as is the concept that this may result in a Azeri, Turkey, Kazakh alliance to protect their common interests. Toss in Bulgaria and Romania just for fun and you have a very decent manpower bulwark against the Russians.

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have the big stake here - with Turkey running third. If Turkey wants to get tough this will get very interesting.

kim

Heh, I think Paris is a secret McCainiac. The 'hot' was in apposition to 'Cold' War. Obama will be as reckless as Clinton with a cruise missile.
==================================

kim

Well, Rick, there are ethnics there who can rival Afghans for ferocity, but I'm afraid those two provinces want to be a part of Mother Russia.
=======================

PeterUK

Rick,
I would say so. But things are getting interesting. The only thing that turns back tanks is the risk of being dead tanks.Knowing the Russian disregard for casualties,this could be a setback for Russia.

Rocco

I wonder what Soros is doing? A blast from the past.

Rick Ballard

Peter,

Probably some antitank weapons left behind by the American trainers when they left. Just a handful. The Georgians can't possibly be successfully resupplied - they are almost one and one half hours by air from the nearest American bases in northern Iraq. Insurmountable. It's almost 350 miles.

clarice

I read elsewhere that the Russians blocked the Georgian president from reaching his people by the internet and the Polish president made his blog available to him. Gosh how these things develop.

PeterUK

Rick,
Yes,and there is absolutely no chance of getting anything via Incirlik.
It is probably nothing,the tanks are old,perhaps the tracks fell off?

PeterUK

Clarice,
Russia is regarded with fondness by the peoples of Eastern Europe.

RichatUF

Rick-

Given the situation, esp. the BTC pipeline, I'd think the oil market would have been propped up a bit. It was down nearly 5 on the news and in Asia trading its barely making a blip.

Granted that the invasion looks well planned (wonder of wonders-did the CIA miss something again), but I'm wondering if it were the Russians that have been left without a chair?

PeterUK

Amazing how many Russians are commenting on this in the Times, most odd how many of them read our Sunday papers,in English.

RichatUF

PeterUK-

No kidding. At least the talking points are getting straighted out by the "Ministry of Truth": Georgia started it; Georgia killed about 2k in South Ossetia the day before; and refugees as fleeing to North Ossetia ie Russia, therefore Georgia is the aggressor.

Rick Ballard

Rich,

Globex trading is always pretty light and really doesn't provide much of a 'tell'. Asian stock markets are opening 'up' as well. The propaganda play that Peter notes regarding comments at the various Brit papers is rather entertaining. Nothing like a little good old agitprop to start the week.

I believe that Captain Zero's star may be fading - as the Red Hope's chances fade the Peaker/Warmer memes that we all know so well and have come to despise so deeply fade with them. The progs desperately needed that President's Day meltdown in order to generate the market chaos that might have made a personality cult viable for the time necessary to win the election.

Perhaps we'll be out from under the Chinese curse of 'interesting times' soon. Take oil driven inflation out of the equation and the economy should pop back to 4-6% growth in short order.

RichatUF

Rick-

I just found it a bit odd that a "for press release" terrorist attack with shuts down about 50k bbl/day in Nigeria can drive oil up $4 and a bit of saber rattling between Israel and Iran can push it up $13 and the Russians can bomb a major pipeline and the markets yawn-that's not "supply and demand" forces at work.

Also the Georgian troops that were in Iraq were in and around al-Kut, south of Bahgdad and east to the Iranian border so I wouldn't be surprised if the Iranians make another push into Iraq.

Also good call on the Solis-Doyle play. She's from the same Daly cesspool that spawned Obama and was wondering if she was always working for the Obama camp. The Hsu story seemed way too inside baseball not to have someone's fingers from inside Clinton's camp on it and it did seem to derail Clinton's fundraising.

Rick Ballard

Rich,

It's never, ever been "supply and demand". Don't forget the Iranian "secret ships" to go with the obsolete missile fireworks.

I'm comfortable with thinking that some shrewd players (Russia, Iran, Goldman-Sachs) played the idiot Peaker meme like a fiddle, calculating the Iraqi supply drop in conjunction with the Saudi announced cutback for maintenance at Ghawar and the phony Chinese "demand" lift occasioned by the Chicoms pulling out all stops in building the Olympic Potemkin Village.

Goldman took a lot of people along for a $150 ride in the face of production increase forecasts that are available to anyone with eyes. The Tupi announcements (and the multi billion investment program which accompanied them) should have popped the bubble. That's where Wily E. Coyote was clearly standing firmly on thin air.

kim

Two thousand missing Georgians will not encourage Iran into adventure, not after the Iraqi Army shut down the last one so disastrously. I was surprised that so many from such a small country were there supporting our adventure. We owe them a little more than 'Good Luck with your Dead End Neighbor'.
=================================

Ranger

The only thing that turns back tanks is the risk of being dead tanks.Knowing the Russian disregard for casualties,this could be a setback for Russia.

Posted by: PeterUK | August 10, 2008 at 06:51 PM

As with any highly developed plan I am sure the Russians have a series of "branches and sequels" built in. It is possible that they initiated the next phase of their attack but then called it off for geo-political reasons. The US could end the South Ossetia campaign with one well executed strike on the tunnel that connects South Ossetia to North Ossetia. Once the tunnel is out of commission, the Russian troops in South Ossetia will run out of fuel in a 3 to 5 days. Food and ammunition could be flown in by helicopter, but there is no way to move enough fule to keep a force of 500 combat vehicles fully operational by air.

There may be red lines here the Russians have been warned not to cross, and moving beyond the boundaries of South Ossetia and Abkazia may be one of those lines.

kim

Didn't know about the tunnel. Why didn't the Georgian's blow it right away, or was it immediately defended? Oh well, that's a stupid question, of course the Russians would guard it.

I want to know why EU forces didn't replace Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia two years ago when they apparently had the opportunity to do so.
=========================================

DaleinAtlanta

By the way, has anyone written about, or checked out, Obama's work for, and ties to this Radical Organization in Chicago: http://www.gamaliel.org/default.htm

I got on to this, from a single sentence in his Bio at the Wiki: Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute.[

What caught my attention, was the fact there was no hyperlink nder "Gamaliel Foundation"; normally, the Wiki hyperlinks EVERYTHING; even dates, and other things that need no hyperlink. I noticed that, and my first thought, was well, maybe it doesn't exist anymore. Then, to be sure, I got curious and Googled it; guess what, it DOES exist, and it's obvious why Obama doesn't want anyone to check it out:

Read their Platfrom: http://www.gamaliel.org/Platform.htm

Check out their stance on "Immigration Reform".

Read their "History", and the very FIRST person they mention? Good old Saul Alinsky: http://www.gamaliel.org/Foundation/history.htm

Interesting stuff; Obama only ever mentions he was a "community organizer"; why no mention of the "Gamaliel Foundation"??

Also, it appears he went to work for the "Gamaliel Foundation", about the same time he "discovered" the "Reverent" Jeremiah Wright; no coincidence, I guess??

Also, Google "Obama" & "Gamaliel", and read some interesting stuff...

The guy really gets scarier, the more I research his background...

kim

Good one, Dale, and gracias.
==================

anduril

Thank God some one is taking the bull by the horns. The Brits are reported to be readying a crack commando force to lend support to the embattled Georgians. They're reported to be engaging in precision drills at their secret training location.

kim

After Britain and the US, Georgia was third most prolific at supplying forces for the Iraqi effort.
========================================

Ann

DaleinAtlanta,

Doug Ross points out that Lawryn has come up with some fascinating links about the real people heading the DNC convention: Larwyn's Links: Why oh why did we kick Hillary to the curb?

bgates

Dale, that immigration platform sounds as bad as...
...well, the Bush/McCain plan, frankly. And its lip service against open borders and in favor of English puts Gamaliel to Obama's right.

narciso

One hopes we do have something like Ghost Force Recon for standby purposes
:href<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Clancy%27s_Ghost_Recon_(video_game)#cite_note-0>
Of course, Clancy wrote this scenario in 2000-01 before he became a skeptic on the Iraq War, ghosted Zinni's memoir, and invented the "Shadows" as the blowback from Iraq, for his Splinter Cell series.

DaleinAtlanta

Dale, that immigration platform sounds as bad as...
...well, the Bush/McCain plan, frankly. And its lip service against open borders and in favor of English puts Gamaliel to Obama's right.

Posted by: bgates: you'll never find a post by me, anywhere, defending Bush nor McCain on Immigration, trust me.

As far as I'm concerned, they've lost their minds!

M. Simon

I have a couple of thoughts on the matter:

Ask The French For Help

PeterUK

General Petraeus hails British SAS.

clarice

WHERE ARE THE HUMAN SHIELDS WHEN THE WORLD NEEDS THEM?

kim

Heh, Simon, Sarkozy and the French Foreign Secretary are the ones going to Russia to talk. Actually, I've confidence in them. And Pete, I'm glad Petraeus talked about Basra. Sadr was ultimately even tougher to touch than al-Qaeda.
==============================

Ranger

WHERE ARE THE HUMAN SHIELDS WHEN THE WORLD NEEDS THEM?

Posted by: clarice | August 11, 2008 at 09:11 AM

They aren't volunteering because they know human shields only work if the people doing the bombing care about hurting civilians.

Besides, the left has decided that Putin is the good guy in this because Georgia sent troops to Iraq. They are busy convincing themselves that this is all Georgia's fault because they chose to side with Bush. Funny thing is, I have a feeling that the Georgians thought they were siding with the US, not just its president.

Semanticleo

"After Britain and the US, Georgia was third most prolific at supplying forces for the Iraqi effort."

Jonathon Foreman provides some flesh to your comment, kim.

"The Bush administration is said to be obsessed with loyalty. But at the same time, it is habitually disloyal to America’s friends and allies. None of the over 30 countries that have sent troops to take part in the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq have been economically or politically rewarded in any way. Indeed the administration has taken them so much for granted than it hasn’t barely acknowledged their contribution, still less thanked them. This has damaged the administration because it plays into the myth of “unilateralism.” But much worse than that, it has also damaged American interests. Our allies have realized that America is neither grateful nor reliable."

From today's NRO;
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTRkMmJiMmYzN2M5ZWI4YzFmYzc5OWU2NjY4ZTNlODE=

Ranger

"After Britain and the US, Georgia was third most prolific at supplying forces for the Iraqi effort."

Jonathon Foreman provides some flesh to your comment, kim.

Posted by: Semanticleo | August 11, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Well, as long as you don't count Poland, which contributed an entire division (10,000 troops) for roughtly 3 years. Georgia has only been providing a 2,000 man brigade.

Ranger

Also, I would note that we are not "doing nothing to help the Georgians." Based on a couple of things that have happened, I suspect we are helping them alot by providing detailed intel to them on Russian troop movements and plans. For example, the Georgian army reserve units that were massing in Gori evactuated the town shortly before the first Russian airstrikes. The Georgian army also managed to ambush the convoy carrying the Russian ground commander in South Ossetia, wounding him. Either the Georgians are getting very lucky, or someone is giving them very good real time information on what the Russians are doing.

kim

Thanks for the correction, Ranger, and Semi, Foreman don't know fum nuthin'.
====================================

PeterUK

Might be useful to have some comparative figures.

Russia - Georgia

Defense budget
$32,99 billion - $583 million

Personnel
641,00 - 26,900

Main Battle Tanks
6,717 - 82

Armoured Personnel Carriers
6,388 - 139

Combat Aircraft
1,206 - 7 (SEVEN)

Heavy Artillery
7,550 - 95

One can see straight away that Saakashvili was taking no chances in attacking puny Russia.
The propaganda doesn't work so well when you have the figures.

glasater

I've just learned that the folks--or at least some--living in Ossetia are Persian speaking Christians.

Ranger

The Russians are now testing the "red lines." They've sent a force into Georgian territory west of Gori. But the situation sounds kind of odd. They have occupied an "abandoned" Georgian military base. It doesn't sound like there was any fighting involved. If it was an importatn base, why did the Georgians abandon it? Even if they evacuated it to protect their troops from Russian airstrikes, there should be some troops in the area to counter attack this kind of Russian effort.

It is also odd that the Russians called off their ground attack on Gori. It could have been a faint to fix Georgian forces in place while the Russians advanced from Abkazia, but that seems like a big use of presious fuel. And if the attack was succeeding, why halt it? There are no reports that the Russians took any significant casualties in their drive towards the town. The Russians are also still taking casualties in South Ossetia, which implies that the Georgian stay behind forces there are successfully harrasing the Russian supply lines.

memomachine

Hmmmm.

1. Poland is totally screwed.

2. Georgia isn't the real problem, though it seems so now.

The real problem is Siberia.

With the precedence of Kosovo *and* Russia's military invasion of Georgia now China has all the pretext it needs to snip off Siberia.

And with the US revealed as a paper tiger all bets are off.

Ranger

Even more weirdness now. According to the BBC, the Georgians are saying they lost Gori and are regrouping to defend Tiblisi. The Russians deny, and it is hard to tell. Yesterday everyone seemed to agree that the Russians had abandoned their attack on Gori.

kim

That's sort of amusing, Ranger; maybe both sides are spooked by the hallucination of red lines.
===============================

kim

I've actually little doubt that Putin has instructed this crew to watch where they step.
=================================

kim

You be careful how you step in them pies.
==========================

kim

Well, I hope I'm the only one who gets that, and I further hope the reference is inapt.
==============================

kim

Now there's a chilly thought, mememachina, but Russia has too much to lose. Maybe someday after a large bunch of illegal Chinese immigrants have infiltrated an indefensible border.
===================================

PeterUK

"1. Poland is totally screwed."

Not at all,Poland is a member of the EU.There will be a discussion about fixing a date for a consultation about a meeting of the European Council,when the the holidays are over,weather permitting.There the wording of a stiff letter of disappointment at the actions of the Russians will be thrashed out.This will then be left until the French no longer have the rotating presidency and no odium can be attached to France.
Poland is safe.

clarice

Heh! PUK have you no respect,man?

PeterUK

Clarice,
Of the Clean Toga,stained underwear brigade,absolutely none.

PeterUK

Clarice,
Here's why.

Ann

Russia has taken four cities in Georgia and cut the country in two. President Bush has come back from the games and will speak from the White House any minute now.

Thomas Collins

If anyone is still wondering why Israel is preparing to bomb Iran and not relying on the talk therapy of the international community, consider how much good international talk has done for Georgia.

Neo

Isn’t odd that the last US commander to tangle with the Russians, Wesley Clark, has been noticeably absence from the list of talking heads. Or did I miss him ?

Thomas Collins

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c3508ce2-67d1-11dd-8d3b-0000779fd18c.html

I just hope that those who think that McCain isn't enough of a conservative or is too much of a maverick on campaign finance consider whether they want McCain or Carter Redux formulating US national security policy.

Semanticleo

"consider how much good international talk has done for Georgia."

SHHHH!

The Presidunce is going to use his words any minute.

clarice

Good point. Time to parachute Wes in I say.

Ann

Can't wait til Nancy gets back from vacation and tell us oil is a hoax, again!

MayBee

Neo- shhh.

The left is busy trying to make it look like Bush has made it impossible for the US to criticize Russia because we, too, have attacked a country without UN permission. (see Andrew Sullivan and Time's The Swamp)

If Clark chimes in, it may draw attention to the fact that Clinton also attacked without UN permission.
Can't ruin a good Bush-blaming narrative.

bgates

Cleo, are you trying to undercut Bush because you're in favor of Russian imperialism, or because you hate Bush so much you don't give a damn if undercutting Bush is useful to Russian imperialism?

Sue

bgates,

because you hate Bush so much you don't give a damn if undercutting Bush is useful to Russian imperialism

What is a progressive liberal, Alex?

Semanticleo


"are you trying to undercut Bush because you're in favor of Russian imperialism,...you don't give a damn if undercutting Bush is useful to Russian imperialism?"


UNDERCUT ; To diminish or destroy the province or effectiveness of; undermine.

First of all; you have to accept the premise that Bush is effective. Otherwise, there is no undercutting possible. I mean, if talking were evidence of action or thoughtful reaction, then there would be some basis for restraint in the critique of a world leader (when, normally, words do carry weight.)

But his words are hollow and meaningless.

ergo; no undercutting.

Rick Ballard

When does a prog ever miss an opportunity to lick a tyrant's boot?

PeterUK

A Clarice said "Where are the human shields"? Where are the protesters,students,code pink and the rest of the "Not in my name" crew,where are the cries of "Quagmire" and "Putinhitler","Blood for oil"?
Not a word about Vlad the Invader.

Semanticleo

"What is a progressive liberal, Alex?"

I dunno, maybe it's the opposite of a Regressive/pro-status quo/conservative.

PeterUK

"When does a prog ever miss an opportunity to lick a tyrant's boot?"

It's the only sex they get.

PeterUK

Septic,
"Regressive/pro-status quo/conservative."

Another oxy moron.

clarice

Bush just told Russia to get the hell out of Georgia. Does he count as a human shield?

Barney Frank

I mean, if talking were evidence of action...

So which is it? Bush is a reckless cowboy invading countries left and right or he's a spineless talker who apparently doesn't even have the nards to take on the puny job of entering a war against Russia.

Ranger

Well, Obama declares Russian attack as "unjustifiable" and demands the Russian withdraw to theie pre-August 6 position. Looks like he just threw the lefto-sphere and their "this is all the Georgians' fault" under the bus.

Semanticleo


BREAKING NEWS

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Russia's "brutal escalation" of attacks against the former Soviet republic of Georgia has jeopardized Russia's relationship with the United States and European nations, President Bush told reporters Monday after returning from his trip to Asia.
President Bush tells reporters that Russia was damaging its standing in the world.

President Bush tells reporters that Russia was damaging its standing in the world.


"Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century," he said.

Now we can breathe a sigh of relief.

No doubt he's mind-melding with Putin as we speak. Putin's soul is transparent to the Presidunce, you see.

He used similar words to discourage Russia from assisting Iran with their nuclear program. See how it works?

MayBee

Cleo- do you want the US to start bombing Russia? What do you suggest here?

Semanticleo

"Bush is a reckless cowboy invading countries left and right or he's a spineless talker"

Both.

Depends which side of his bread is buttered.

Semanticleo

"Cleo- do you want the US to start bombing Russia? What do you suggest here?"

Bush is an enabler of Putin and his KGB friendlinks. The tough talk should have been followed with action long ago. His man-to-man discussions have made him look weak to people like Putin. Bush talked tough to the Chinese over the week-end, but they know it's just rhetoric based upon his previous behaviors.

Semanticleo

BTW;

Surgical strikes should follow STRICT TIMETABLES punishing incursions into Georgia followed by demands for withdrawal.

Ranger

The really ironic thing is that Obama's and Bush's statements are esstially the same at this point. Hope and Change you can believe in!

MayBee

Tough talk and action with Putin like....what?

Are you saying talking makes Bush look weak? And you are for Obama?
Oh, glory.

Ranger

Bush talked tough to the Chinese over the week-end, but they know it's just rhetoric based upon his previous behaviors.

Posted by: Semanticleo | August 11, 2008 at 06:22 PM

Yeah, ever since Bush let the Taliban and Saddam off the hook in his first term, no one has taken him seriously when he talks tough.

hit and run

Semanticleo:
Surgical strikes should follow STRICT TIMETABLES punishing incursions into Georgia followed by demands for withdrawal.

We are going to bomb you for 48 hours -- and if you have not left by then, we swear to God we are going to stop it!

Semanticleo

"saying talking makes Bush look weak?"

I'm saying talk is cheap if it is not consistent with behaviors.

Barney Frank

Surgical strikes should follow STRICT TIMETABLES punishing incursions into Georgia followed by demands for withdrawal.

And when they call your horses ass of a bluff and invade Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and perhaps Ukraine as well?
We begin surgical strikes across all of Russia?
You've topped yourself this time Clausewitz.

Semanticleo

"followed' should be "preceded"

Good catch, HR!!!

MayBee

I'm saying talk is cheap if it is not consistent with behaviors.

So what do you want?
Do you just want to complain about Bush?

It sounds to me like you either want him to bomb Russia, or just ignore the situation altogether.

Semanticleo

"We begin surgical strikes across all of Russia?"

Oh, now you want to be all circumspect and responsible in your support of diplomacy.
>Bush/Iraq Tool>

Tell you what; Go find some small country
to beat up on. You don't need a real good reason. Just make something up.

Hint; Russia shouldn't be one of your choices, but then, you see that, don't you?

bgates

Do you just want to complain about Bush?
Don't be silly, MayBee. He also wants innocent people who happen to live in a country that has supported the US during the Bush presidency to die.

bgates

Tell you what; Go find some small country
to beat up on.

No small country has it coming as much as you do.

PeterUK

"Surgical strikes should follow STRICT TIMETABLES punishing incursions into Georgia followed by demands for withdrawal."

As soon as one reads "Surgical strikes" one knows one is in the presence of a truly awesome fuckwit.

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