Like many Americans, I went through school trying to pay as little attention to geography as possible. It was, frankly, my least favorite subject. I found it dry and boring. Unlike many Americans, however, in my years since high school, I had the opportunity to travel abroad. It almost instantly gave me an appreciation for a knowledge of geography, as well as a perspective on America and Americans you simply can’t get by staying here. I quickly acquired an appreciation for just how amazing The USA is, and gained a newfound respect for our Constitution, capitalism, and our way of life.
Since traveling to Europe and Asia, I have become convinced that a week or two abroad can change hearts and minds – and could perhaps be a cure for liberalism in America. One of the things I hate about the liberal mindset is their seemingly knee-jerk position that the USA is “evil” and automatically guilty when it comes to any international, human rights, or geopolitical incident. Take a few weeks in Europe or Japan, return here, and tell me again how you think we’re the bad guys. And I don’t mean that as a slap against any European or Asian country. It’s just when you get to see us through their eyes, you might find yourself taking a second look at how you see us yourself.
Which brings me to Georgia. The country…not the state (although I can’t tell you how many guitar students of mine seemed to question why the Beatles would write a song called Back in the U.S.S.R. and mention the state of Georgia in it. Seriously.)
I’ve never been to Georgia. Closest I came was Germany, on a trip for my then-employer. I’d planned to visit the land of my ancestors – what is now the Czech Republic – but was waylaid by a sinus infection. But Georgia’s been on my mind of late, as it seems they are to play the part of Poland to Vladmir Putin’s Hitler impression, as the spectre of WWII rears it’s ugly head. Back then, we had geniuses like Neville Chamberlain proclaiming that they had met with Hitler and he would be reasonable, so they could have “peace in our time.” Uh huh. Tell that to the Polish, the Czechs, the French, and so forth.
Putin and his former KGB buddies have invaded and spit upon the sovreignity of Georgia for three very important reasons:
- They are sending a message to the USA and our allies (like Georgia): Don’t mess with us. We’re back, we’re bad, and we’re not afraid to use force.
- They are sending a message to their allies (Iran, Syria): We’re not afraid to take on the USA.
- They want to control all the oil they can get their hands on.
If you recall that fun period between the end of WWII and Bush I (a.k.a.: “The Cold War”), You’ve probably figured out bullets one and two for yourself. However, did you know that Georgia has a huge oil pipeline running across it’s length that is vital to our energy supplies, and therefore vital to our national security? And if you think that Russia is not a big part of what’s going on in Iran right now, then you’re either incredibly naieve (liberals) or you’ve not paying attention (conservatives).
Call it “A Tale of Two Countries” – in the Post-U.S.S.R. era, Georgia found a leader to clean up the corruption, adopt Democracy with a capital “D,” and create an economy growing by leaps and bounds. Russia embraced corruption, has an economy where only the corrupt get rich, and is well on it’s way to becoming another Socialist superpower.
The question is, why aren’t we standing up for Georgia? They’ve thrown their lot in with us, and not just when the going got rough with Mother Russia. Their President is a huge fan of the USA, and his speeches sound more like something you’d expect to hear from one of OUR Founding Fathers than something penned by a former Soviet territory.
What I’m afraid of is history repeating itself. If the USA doesn’t act now to stop Putin and his Russian bully-boys, we’re gonna be in for Nazi Germany, the Sequel. I’m afraid, though, that Putin is counting on America’s fascination with self-loathing, navel gazing, and indecision. And he may be right. Edmund Burke once opined, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” If we do nothing, we may see a Russia that makes Nazi Germany of the 1930s and 40s look like a bunch of underachievers.
The answer is to support our friends now, while we have the strength to do the right thing, and not wait for Russia to gain in both strength and resolve. I have no idea if we can. But if we don’t, it’s gonna end up looking like a World War all over again, and I don’t think we’ll like the price we’ll all pay for our indecision.