Wednesday, September 3, 2008
U.S. brings moral and financial support to Georgia
That's right; if the Russians are not going to live with its neighbors peacefully without pressure from the United States and European Union, it's time to ratchet up the nonlethal type of influence. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is traveling to Georgia this week to do just that; he met with the leaders of Azerbejian on Wednesday and announced a $1 billion aid package for Georgia. Georgia was humiliated in last month's five-day war with Russia and suffered massive damage to its cities and its armed forces. The United States has condemned Russia's use of force to defeat Georgia's effort to retake its South Ossetia province on the Russian border, acccording to the Reuters international news service. Azerbejian, like Georgia a former Soviet republic still dependent on Russia, is a key part of a Western strategy to use the newly independent countries for oil export routes that bypass Moscow. Cheney also plans to visit Georgia and Ukraine. Russia claims it launched its crushing attack to protect civilians in South Ossetia and the other breakaway province, Abkhazia, in westernmost Georgia. "President Bush has sent me here with a clear and simple message for the people of Azerbaijan and this entire region: The United States has deep and abiding interests in your well-being and security," Cheney said in Azerbejian, according to Reuters. "The United States strongly believes that together with the nations of Europe, including Turkey, we must work with Azerbaijan and other countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia on additional routes for energy exports that ensure the free flow of resources." The West believes the oil transport route could be in jeopardy after the Kremlin sent its troops deep into Georgia, Reuters said. Russia, apparently reacting to the West's rapid recognition of the independence of Kosovo from Serbia earlier this year, quickly recognized the independence of the two Georgian provinces. Russia also claims the United States helped to create the conflict in Georgia by supporting outspoken Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.