Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bush announces $1 billion from taxpayers to aid Georgia - to promote freedom, of course. Their oil pipelines probably have nothing to do it.

Bush announces $1 billion in aid for Georgia
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press WriterWed Sep 3, 7:24 PM ET
Pushing back against an increasingly aggressive Moscow, President Bush said Wednesday the U.S. will send an extra $1 billion to Georgia to help the pro-Western former Soviet republic in the wake of Russia's invasion.
"Georgia has a strong economic foundation and leaders with an impressive record of reform," Bush said in a statement. "Our additional economic assistance will help the people of Georgia recover from the assault on their country, and continue to build a prosperous and competitive economy."
Vice President Dick Cheney, due in Georgia on Thursday, planned to make the massive aid package a major highlight of his discussions with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. Cheney is on a tour of three former Soviet republics that are wary of Russia's intentions in what Moscow likes to call its "near abroad" sphere of influence and what Cheney termed while in Azerbaijan on Wednesday "the shadow of the Russian invasion of Georgia."
"The free world cannot allow the destiny of a small independent country to be determined by the aggression of a larger neighbor," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters at the State Department in a simultaneous announcement with Bush.
She mocked Russia for its recognition of the two separatist regions in Georgia that are at the heart of the conflict that broke out last month, and for its failure to garner international backing.
"Almost no one followed suit, I might note. It isn't really an impressive list to have Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognize each other," she said.
Also in tandem with Bush, the International Monetary Fund announced it has agreed to lend Georgia $750 million for economic recovery.
The administration is delaying an announcement on some sort of punishment of Russia for its actions against Georgia and its refusal thus far to comply with a French-brokered cease-fire. However, the decision to shower tiny Georgia with such substantial aid and have Cheney talk about it in Moscow's backyard will likely be seen by the Kremlin as highly provocative, if not a punitive measure in and of itself.
The dollar total is half the $2 billion a year the U.S. gives Israel, its largest aid recipient. But the sizable amount still shows the strategic importance the U.S. places on both supporting Saakashvili's Western-leaning government and countering the desire by a newly resurgent and energy-rich Moscow for greater regional influence.
Cheney made a point in Azerbaijan of saying that Washington has "a deep and abiding interest" in the region's stability.
That said, the U.S. has found during this conflict that it has little leverage with Russia. Moscow has drawn condemnations from the United States and Europe, but little else. Meanwhile on Wednesday, Russia closed its embassy in Georgia, following Georgia's severing of diplomatic ties with Moscow.
After years of tensions, the recent fighting began Aug. 7 when Georgian forces went into its breakaway province of South Ossetia in hopes of re-establishing control. Russian forces repelled the offensive and pushed deep into Georgia proper.
Both sides signed the cease-fire in mid-August, but Russia has ignored its requirement for all forces to return to prewar positions.
Bush said the money will meet humanitarian needs, such as helping to resettle families that were displaced. The U.S. already has provided $30 million in humanitarian relief since the conflict began.
The United States has sent two military ships bearing aid to Georgia, and the USS Mount Whitney — the flagship of the Navy's 6th Fleet — steamed through the Dardanelles early Wednesday and was expected to pass through the Bosporus later in the day. The two Turkish-controlled straits link the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.
The new funds are also aimed at helping impoverished Georgia, wedged between Russia and Turkey on the Black Sea, to rebuild infrastructure and boost an economy that has been growing but is nowhere near grown.
Georgia wants to rebuild and modernize its badly routed military. Though U.S. officials emphasized that none of the current package was for military aid, there was no effort to rule that out for the future. Russia has accused the United States of delivering arms on the U.S. warships that have docked in Georgian ports with humanitarian supplies.
Rice said that $570 million of the funds will be made available in the remaining months of the Bush administration, though Congress will have to approve $200 million of that. That also leaves a sizable portion — $430 million — up to the budgeting discretion of next year's Congress and the new president.
But Bush feels confident in that area, as both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, have expressed strong support for Georgia's embattled government and Bush's approach to Russia's invasion.
On trade, Bush said the United States would negotiate a deal to provide preferential access to Georgian exports. The president said his commerce secretary would dispatch a trade mission to Georgia in the coming weeks.


Developer said...

Rather then quoting biased media
read some of my thoughts on the subject

Anonymous said...

$1,000,000,000! The Bush Administration has slapped the face of the American people once again. Did'nt Georgia fire on Russia first? Please, if you call yourself an American you have to vote to get these self-serving gov't officails out of the White House.

Anonymous said...

What is striking is how fast all this happened. A little war in a Far-Away-stan and 1bn is gone. They never moved as fast on anything. This makes me confident that Georgia attack (that had no chances as Ossetians want Russia, not Georgia), the smearing campaign in press, all the tough speeches from Rice, Bush and Dick, and the billion bucks - ALL THAT WAS A PLANNED.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, why would we deliver blankets and diapers on a flagship of the 6th fleet? Why couldn't they use a cargo ship? There must be some weapons delivered under the disguise of the humanitarian aid. And the bigotry of the media and the White House is appalling. Dick talking about brutality ... what a dick! We have 150,000 troops in Iraq for 5 years. The Russians retaliated with 8,000, and were out in a week.

Anonymous said...

This billion dollars is not the last one if McCain is elected. This whole strange "war" was orchestrated to sell the new batch of weapons to this "new democracy". check out here,
the georgian president sure looks hungr. He needs our $$$$ more than Darfur or New Orleans

Anonymous said...

COMMENTARY: Georgia: The other side of the story

"When men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public; and that when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter." ---- Benjamin Franklin, June 10, 1731.

I followed Georgian-Russian conflict with close attention and can testify based on my knowledge of the geography, culture, language and history of this region, that the mainstream media such as CNN, CNBC, and Fox News presented this tragedy on biased assumptions and selective evidence.

The other side of the conflict was not heard by the American public and was quoted out of the context by mass media.

From the very beginning of the conflict, the media was inconsistent in defining the issue. News reports flip-flopped Georgian and Russian positions from left to right, forgetting to include neighboring South Ossetia, the cause of the conflict, in its headlines.

The republic of South Ossetia emerged with the collapse of the Soviet Union in November 1989 when it declared its independence from Georgia, democratically electing its own parliament and president. South Ossetia is neighbor to Georgia to the south and the Russian republic of North Ossetia to the North, with which it shares the same ethnicity and language. (The Ossetian language is not Georgian, which is quite different from any other European language with Latin, Cyrillic, or Greek alphabets.)

South and North Ossetians have deep historical and cultural roots with Russia, they traditionally spoke Russian as their second language, and by the beginning of the 21st century, 95 percent of South Ossetians chose Russian citizenship as a guarantee of ethnic protection from Georgia. After the conflict with Georgia in 1994, the United Nations Security Council ordered peacekeeping forces from Russia to be stationed in Ossetia to mitigate potential ethnic conflicts with Georgia.

Georgian conflicts with Ossetia can be traced to the early 1920s when Josef Stalin (a native Georgian and notorious ruler of the Soviet Union) actively supported expansion of Georgia into Ossetia.

The mainstream media preferred not to investigate the history of Georgian and Ossetian ethnic relations and had no interest in reconstructing the chronology of the latest August events. It was silent about the first Georgian bombing of South Ossetia on Aug. 3, which claimed six civilian lives.

After this attack, the Russian peacekeepers and the South Ossetian government alerted the world about Georgian military escalation and accumulation of Georgian military tanks next to the neighboring Ossetian villages. The media remained silent when the Ossetians were fleeing from their capital city of Tshinvalli across the Russian border to North Ossetia. It trusted the Georgian officials who publicly denied any preparation for military actions and assured the world of responsible behavior.

On the night of Aug. 7, Georgia launched its massive and brutal invasion in South Ossetia, shelling the parliament building as a major target and then methodically destroying local hospitals, schools, and homes. The Russian peacekeepers lost their lives trying to prevent the massacre but were unsuccessful in protecting the local population from violence in the city.

The media completely ignored the fact that as a result of this attack by Georgia, 1,600 Ossetian civilians lost their lives. Georgian soldiers did not spare woman and children, old, wounded, or dying. They threw grenades and flooded the basements where civilians tried to hide from gun attacks and bombing.

The city morgue in Tshinvalli could not receive additional corpses, as it was full of bodies soaked in blood. This picture was witnessed by the Russian troop reinforcements sent to help the peacekeeping troops and rescue their suffering neighbor.

This explains why pro-Georgian journalists avoided traveling to South and North Ossetia, avoided talking to the local people, and avoided documenting Georgian atrocities committed in Tshinvalli and Ossetian villages during the first days of war.

The media only focused on Georgian President Saakashvili's reports on what happened, following him on the streets of Tbilisi, his office, and at his rallies. Giving Saakashvili numerous possibilities to voice his opinion, the media forgot about objectivity and ignored serious inconsistencies in his interviews and obvious signs of aberrant behavior.

Benjamin Franklin was right speaking about the importance of hearing alternative points of view. Only by providing this equity does the media fulfill its primary goal ---- to defend truth for the benefits and interests of the common people.

Anonymous said...

I think that the coverage of this war showed that we don't have free press, and that even Europeans simply fill the orders from Washington. When the Iraq war began, the media also joined the chest-pounding, and we are still paying for this. I think there should not be a single speck of doubt in a mind of a critically thinking person that this war was timed to the US presidential election. The republicans are playing the patriotism and "tough on everybody" card and pulling the strings. Some of these strings go to the editors of CNN and Fox. One of this strings goes all the way to Tbilisi. "Misha, my boy - go to war now! Don't fret we have $1bn for ya". The problem is that Kremlin has its own tough guys who don't buy the BS about the missiles in Poland being pointed on Iran, and are tired of being pushed around. Who in their right mind would trust Bush&Dick?

RandyT/Lewisville TX said...

I understand Cheney meet with Chevron and another oil company's management. Are we now going to go to war with Russia over oil?

Could not the $1 billion be better spent on our schools? Our children's health? What pigs these guys are, Cheney and Bush - they have theirs to heck with the rest of Americans.