Monday, August 18, 2008 12 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

NATO Expansion is Going to End Up In a Disaster--Except for the Warmongers

(Another totally political post so ignore at will :) )

The whole Georgian situation hopefully puts a lid on American push--primarily from the George Bush administration (but McCain is even more hawkish)--to expand NATO. I still can't figure out if the present war was started due to an incompetent leader (the Georgian leader) or due to plans hatched by others (i.e. leader was a puppet.) The whole strategy seems so juvenile and laughable that it would really be a joke if it weren't for all the deaths involved. Did he really think that his military can somehow take on the 2nd most powerful military in the world? As some in the media have noted, all of this is quite puzzling given that Georgian military commanders didn't even brief the press on the progress of their war (it was all politicians who were speaking to the media all the time.) For what it's worth, Georgia actually seems to have shot down 4 Russian planes--just as improbable as the American stealth fighter that was shot down by Serbia a decade ago.

Imagine if Georgia were part of NATO right now. You would have some incompetent Georgian leader (or possibly a puppet) starting a war and forcing all the NATO members to enter the war (for those not familiar, like most alliances, an attack on one member is equivalent to an attack on all.) The notion of World War III wouldn't just be a conspiracy theory or some view held by some wacko. Hawks who derive their meaning of life from war would love it, but it would be a disaster for everyone else.


As some random posters raise the possibility on the GaveKal forum here, NATO should be disbanded at some point. An alliance designed to primarily combat the USSR has clearly outlived its need. Some Americans and Canadians won't be happy with that scenario but it's inevitable in my eyes. Some European countries are far more tightly integrated with Russia than they are to America or Canada. For instance, something like half of Russia's trade is with Germany (you will note that Germany is less critical of Russia during the Georgian conflict than the US government.) If Europe were to compete with a re-emergent Asia (particularly China) then it needs Russia as an ally. Russia has natural resources, highly educated citizens, and lower cost of labour (than Europe anyway.) Building military alliances contrary to trade and free markets makes no sense. Anyway, this isn't going to happen any time soon but my expectation is for the relevance of NATO to diminsh.

I think Mikheil Saakashvili's tenure is over whether he realizes it or not. Similar to how Henry Paulson remarked to Alan Schwartz, Bear Sterans CEO, that the fate of Bear Stearns was out of his hands, I think Mikheil Saakashvili's fate is outside his hands. It's a shame, really. He seemed to have been on the right track towards building a democratic and liberal state. Who knows what changed? Perhaps power corrupts absolutely, as they say. Or maybe he became a puppet of the George Bush administration (naming the main street to the Georgian aiport after George Bush really raises a lot of questions.) Jeffrey Tayler's article in The Atlantic sums up the end game:

(source: At Putin's Mercy by Jeffrey Tayler. August 2008 Edition of The Atlantic. )

As Russian bombs rained down on Georgia and Saakashvili pleaded for help from the West and for a cease-fire from Moscow, Putin stated bluntly that "Georgia's aspiration to join NATO . . . is driven by its attempt to drag other nations and peoples into its bloody adventures,” and warned that, “the territorial integrity of Georgia has suffered a fatal blow." The Bush administration answered with boilerplate language of protest, failing even to dispatch Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region until six days later for rounds of shuttle diplomacy. Saakashvili complained that “all we got so far are just words, statements, moral support, humanitarian aid.” But neither the United States nor Europe will risk Armageddon for Georgia. For Saakashvili, game over.

The United States has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned Saakashvili, the poster-boy of the color revolutions, and left him at the mercy of Putin, who appears bent on exacting revenge. Moscow and the separatist leaders in both republics have pledged to charge Saakashvili in the Hague for genocide. The lessons that emerge from the Russia-Georgia war are clear: Russia is back, the West fears Russia as much as it needs it, and those who act on other assumptions are in for a rude, perhaps violent, awakening.


Nationalist tendencies did him in. Obviously he should have spent more time brushing up on the concept of realpolitik and how ruthless and clever Vladimir Putin is. He'll survive and maybe even do well if McCain becomes the next president (John "We're all Georgians" McCain is very close to Saakashvili (McCain's foreign policy advisor was formerly a major paid-lobbyist for Georgia.) But I doubt the Georgians will be so kind to him.

As for South Ossetia, well, its capital is totally destroyed (as these photos from the Russian side indicates (note: some photos are graphic)) and I doubt the Ossetians would want anything to do with Georgia in the future. Stalin divided Ossetia into the north and south portions but this is the end of his plan.

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12 Response to NATO Expansion is Going to End Up In a Disaster--Except for the Warmongers

August 18, 2008 at 3:25 PM

Ram,

I feel like you should just flesh the blog out into macro investing and politics. I think you're pidgeonholing yourself just calling it a "contrarian investing blog." You cover way more material and as of recent, it seems contrarian investing is not the sole focus anymore.

You seem to enjoy the macro, global perspective, political perspective, and the like. Way moreso than I do, hehe. You write about a lot of investments I wouldn't touch and topics I wouldn't write about, but if I just read your tagline, I'd think our blogs had a similar focus. You do a great job covering a wider range than simply "contrarian investing."

Just a thought. Keep it up.

August 18, 2008 at 4:20 PM

Thanks for the suggestion Jeff. I realize that this blog is going in unpredictable directions (and might drive away some readers).

August 18, 2008 at 4:24 PM

I'd hope you gain some readers who enjoy what you're posting about more, now. That's the reason I suggested modifying the stated purpose of the blog. You might lose a few, but I suspect you'd gain more.

contrariandutch
August 18, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Sivaram,

It is entirely beyond me why you rail against Georgian nationalism and seem to think Ossetian nationalism just perfect. What am I missing in that picture?

Also, what makes you think Georgia never had a chance? The best I can piece together from the news is that the Georgians actually had more modern weapons, more troops on the spot and brilliant terrain for defence to boot. That makes the total and sudden collapse of their army a surprise to me.

According to the wags NATO is intended "to keep the Germans down, the Russians out and the Americans in". That rationale still holds pretty well. The US is still the most important trade partner for Europe as a whole and unlikely to lose that postion soon. Add Canada and the importance of Nort America grows. In addition, trading with the Russians is fine but nobody wants them to be paying visits (not even as tourists, too loud and troublesome). This is especially true for the countries that "enjoyed" an extended Russian visit 1945-1990. The unfortunate fact is that Europe at the moment is unwilling to pay even a penny for it's own defence, so American involvement remains necessary even though Russia is much weaker then the Soviet Union. At the same time, despite all the squabling the US has far to much use for a generally friendly Europe to allow it to fall under non-US influence, thus the US continues to shore Europe up militarily. NATO pays for everyone involved.

Now, if Georgia had been a NATO member would that really have triggered WW III? I don't think so for a moment. Russia isn't going to risk a direct confrontation and certainly not over a fairly minor matter like South Ossetia. Most likely a NATO Georgia would have been allowed to crush South Ossetia and Russia would have had it's revenge on the US somewhere else.

Or as an alternative (and assuming they expected a Georgian attack, which I think they didn't), the Russians might have bolstered the defences of South Ossetia to the point where Georgia couldn't hope for a quick victory and the status quo would have remained. Note that the Baltic States with their large Russian minorities have been remarkably free from Russian interference since they joined NATO and the EU. The Russians understand this game and have essentially said to the West Russia accepts the loss and the West can keep the Baltic.

Last but not least, (and to say someting on investing) our favorite monoline gained again today despite the Barron's hit piece on Fan and Fred that send almost all US financials in a tail spin. Impressive!

August 18, 2008 at 7:09 PM

ContrarianDutch: "It is entirely beyond me why you rail against Georgian nationalism and seem to think Ossetian nationalism just perfect. What am I missing in that picture?"

It's not so much that I am in favour of nationalism from one side or another; instead, it's the fact that Georgia escalated the conflict, resulting in needless deaths, potentially increased conflict (note the paramilitaries roaming Georgian borders now), and likely waste of everything they have accomplished in the last 10 years! Shaza just lost it all. It may not seem that way but come back in 2 years and tell me that Georgia isn't worse off.

As for unification of north and south Ossetia, I'm just saying that long-term history would show that they were one people (before Stalin purposely split them.) Furthermore, it is my belief that the final peaceful resolution for most conflicts in the world--not just the Ossetia but many others as well--is for the regions to go back to what they were several hundread years ago, before colonialism, monarchy, or imperialism broke them up. You may choose to not believe that, as many nationalists won't, but that's what see as a stable long-term solution. Everything else is unstable in my eyes.

"Also, what makes you think Georgia never had a chance? The best I can piece together from the news is that the Georgians actually had more modern weapons, more troops on the spot and brilliant terrain for defence to boot. That makes the total and sudden collapse of their army a surprise to me."

It's possible that this whole thing was run with politicians pushing it without much support from the military commanders. As some reports have noted, military commanders were nowhere to be found. Typically they provide some update on the war but this was some bizarre situation.

In any case, I don't think Georgia had anything modern, except some limited weapons and US and Israeli training. Russia's military is crumbling but it's still something like 300,000-strong with far superior air power. In fact, most of the Georgian losses seem to have come from air superiority (you'll notice how most of the jeeps, tanks, etc are completely bombed out). Once they got their air force going, and put, what seems like, a naval blocade near the East, it was all over.

I think your lowly 1940-Dutch would have had a better time against the Russians ;)

I don't want to get into an argument over NATO because we'll just go in circles. I understand your point but my feeling is that NATO is an antiquated remnant from the past. I personally think it actually destabilizes Europe as we move forward. I also think America's (and Canada's) role in Europe will diminsh over the coming decades. Western Europe is weakening (mostly due to demographics) and will depend more and more on Eastern European countries, including Russia and others. Trade will America will likely keep declining and it would not surprise me if most of the continential European countries do more trade with Russia than America.

"Now, if Georgia had been a NATO member would that really have triggered WW III?"

I think it would have. Not at that moment but it would lead towards it. Right now there is zero conflict between Russia and any of the NATO countries. If some NATO country invades South Ossetia and kills Russian "peacekeepers" it likely would have led to an escalation--likely a proxy war. I certainly wouldn't want Canadian forces dying in Georgia due to some proxy war that was started by one of the NATO members invading a disputed land. It probably would have led to an arms race and would have shifted Russia more towards China (if NATO keeps expanding, it wouldn't surprise me if some country like India also joins Russia-China). Warmongers would be happy (lots of action for them; money for the weapons manufacturers; and so forth) but it'll be a disaster for humanity.

The more you threaten Russia, the more you will drive it towards China. I'm no fan of Putin and I'm not saying you have to put up with his principles, but Russia can be more benefitial to you than you perceive.

=========

I don't trust the rally in the monolines. Good news on the surface but it seems a bit fishy. I can't complain... but too unreal...

The Fannie and Freddie situation is not good. If you don't buy fair value accounting--I don't--then it's ridiculous what is being proposed. For what it's worth, Barron's has been making some horrible calls (including a bad call on AIG)...

Anonymous
August 18, 2008 at 9:17 PM

“…NATO should be disbanded at some point. An alliance designed to primarily combat the USSR has clearly outlived its need.”

Huh?

The people who understand the Russians the best, those that have lived under its rule, have a very different view. They see Russia reverting to its old imperialist ways. From the Christian Science Monitor;

“From Poland to Ukraine, the Czech Republic to Bulgaria, Russia's invasion of Georgia with tanks, troops, and planes is described as a test of Western resolve. The former Soviet states are vowing to thwart Russian aims – in deals with the European Union, in a missile-defense pact with the US, and in trade and diplomacy.
Polish and Baltic officials, most of whom grew up under Soviet occupation, have long chafed at being described in Western Europe as too "Russia-phobic" in their oft-repeated warnings about Moscow's intentions. But now in this gritty capital, the refrain is, "We told you so."

"When we woke up and saw Russian tanks in Georgia, we knew very well what this meant," says Bartosz Weglarczyk, foreign editor of Gazeta Wyborcza. "The Russian talk about helping others and bringing peace to Georgia.... We don't buy it. When did Moscow ever enter a country without 'bringing peace?'
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0818/p01s01-woeu.html

These countries see Russia’s move into Georgia as affirming the need for some collective defense against further Russian aggression – just the thing NATO was formed to do. Their concern is that NATO may not be enough --- “old Europe” may not be willing to recognize and confront the threat and therefore will not admit additional NATO members.
Poland just signed a joint defense treaty with the US, (in part because they don’t believe NATO is serious), and the Ukraine has made it clear that it can no longer afford to wait for NATO membership -- it would like to sign a similar agreement. Additionally they have offered to integrate their early warning radars into Europe’s early warning network.

These countries see Russia move as a threat to their freedom – their right to exist.
These countries understand that while tactically Georgia may have made a mistake, the big picture is that Russia is bent on subjugating a democratic sovereign nation.

August 19, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Anonymous,

Every small country out there would want to join NATO if given the choice--whether an ex-Soviet republic or not! The question you need to answer are the following:

(i) Should NATO be the police of the world?

(ii) Do you want to antagonize countries that may not exactly be your close allies (potentially leading to an arms race and increased nuclear proliferation, among others)?

(iii) (for the Americans) Do you want a country that some say will be bankrupt within 70 years financing more wars and expending lives, while running up the debt (war spending something like 30% to 40% of US govt spending if I'm not mistaken)? The countries that are being accepted into NATO clearly can't afford to pay for their defense so do you want a potentially bankrupt USA to be doing it?

(iv) Finally, do you want to accept members into NATO that have their own problems and long-running disputes with borders, resources, and so forth? If I'm not mistaken, NATO will only accept countries without border disputes but it's easy to get around that by claiming some border is what it is (eg. say Georgia claims South Ossetia is part of it.)


The problem for you is the problem faced by liberals (I'm not implying you are a liberal--not sure what you are.) There are always countless countries with various disputes and wars. I am all for democracy and freedoms, but imagining that you will bring that through an invasion is naive and simplistic. Iraq, when the West was supporting Saddam Hussein is a good example (some actually believed that Iraq was going to be democratic).

All you are going to do is to end up with perpetual wars in places where you don't even know what their culture represents... If that's your goal, that's fine; but it isn't what I want...

contrariandutch
August 19, 2008 at 3:27 PM

Sivaram: "Furthermore, it is my belief that the final peaceful resolution for most conflicts in the world--not just the Ossetia but many others as well--is for the regions to go back to what they were several hundread years ago"

me: That is a core nationalist view (see Mazzini, "father of nationalism" for details). You sure you are not a nationalist?

Sivaram: "In any case, I don't think Georgia had anything modern, except some limited weapons and US and Israeli training. Russia's military is crumbling but it's still something like 300,000-strong with far superior air power. In fact, most of the Georgian losses seem to have come from air superiority (you'll notice how most of the jeeps, tanks, etc are completely bombed out). Once they got their air force going, and put, what seems like, a naval blocade near the East, it was all over.

me: Georgia had T-72 tanks with GPS, updated firecontrol and, crucially, thermal sights. That last bit should have allowed them to slaughter the Russians in a nightbattle. The Georgians also had advanced communicatian systems and modern UAV's for scouting. The Russians relied on pre-1975 Soviet stuff. In the news the Russian columns look like a moving military museum.

Air power did a lot of damage, but on all the pictures you see the Georgians shot up on the road, ie. they got destroyed while running away... (that is traditionally how armies are destroyed, they break, run and get cut down while not bothering to fight back) So that leaves the riddle why the Georgians broke and ran so suddenly.

Russia does have a much bigger army but only a small part of it in the vicinity and the war was too short to allow substantial reinforcements to be brought in. I remain puzzled.

Sivaram: "I think your lowly 1940-Dutch would have had a better time against the Russians ;)"

me: The Dutch in 1940 had no antitank or antiaircraft weapons, no armour and artillery dating to 1890. They got routed by a German reserve division and some paratroops, given that the Russians are very armourheavy, it would have been worse against them. Complete disaster, but that is what you get when the government refuses to spend anything on the military for decades.

Sivaram: "Right now there is zero conflict between Russia and any of the NATO countries".

me: That is mistaken I think, there is plenty conflict between Russia and the Baltic states. Poland isn't too hot on Russia either (that feeling is mutual and goes back centuries). Yet Russia doesn't press any of this as it is not important enough to risk all-out conflict. A NATO Georgia would likely have joined the "don't like 'em but not worth a big fight" category. Nobody starts WW III over some Caucasian sheepherders.

Sivaram: "The more you threaten Russia, the more you will drive it towards China".

me: I doubt it. The Russians have detested asians ever since they had a run-in with the Mongols back in the 13th century. The Russians couldn't even keep the peace with the Chinese when both were communists ans the Chinese really admired the Russians... Also, the Russians suspect (with reason) that the Chinese have designs on Central Asia and Siberia.

On one thing I think I agree with you. The West should have an open eye for Russian interests and accomodate those interests where that is reasonably feasible without serious harm to Western interests. That way cooperation is possible and the Russians do understand quid pro quo.

Anonymous
August 20, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Here’s the argument that Russia’s incursion into Georgia was driven by their desire to control oil transportation. Further supporting this view are today’s stories that the Russians have re-entered the oil port of Poti, and are continuing earlier efforts at destroying infrastructure there.

Pipeline politics caused the war in Georgia

There are increasing reports from Georgia that Russian troops are systematically destroying oil transportation links. If confirmed, the tales of destruction may provide the best evidence that they do indeed intend to withdraw. From the beginning, oil and gas transmission has been at the centre of this conflict.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the interests of the newly emerging states of the Caucasus and countries such as Ukraine and Belarus have repeatedly and fiercely clashed with those of Russia. In particular, they have competed with each other over energy resources and the transmission corridors of the former Soviet Union.

Russian interruptions of gas supplies to Ukraine, Belarus and the rest of Eastern Europe are legion - and so are the restrictions they have imposed on the transmission of Kazakh oil to the international market across their territory. If Russia controls the flow of energy, it also has dangerous sway over the economies of Western Europe.

The EU had been trying to wean itself off energy dependence on Moscow by developing a network of energy routes through Georgia. It's no wonder that the Russians turned their attention in that direction.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/08/20/do2005.xml

This implies that Russia’s actions in Georgia are in fact a threat to NATO members – Russia is working to further its energy stranglehold over Europe. The real question for NATO is if they want to confront Russia today, or later.

August 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Sorry about the late response but I'm not sure if there is anything further to debate. I think we are just going to go in circles and not really go anwhere.

My concern, as always, has been the attempt by hawks to escalate, what I view as, a minor situation into a potential world war. NATO is nothing more than an anachronistic relationship that serves little purpose. When the Warsaw Pact was donw away with, NATO stopped serving its purpose.

It's really too bad that none of you see the potential for a future world war with the continuous expansion of NATO (not to mention the ever-expanding missile shield idea.) If there is a future world war, it won't be caused by any of the major countries in NATO. Instead, it will be some little country like Georgia, which isn't part of NATO, run by an incompetent leader or a puppet who starts a world war. I think you are mistaken if you think a world war won't start if so no-name NATO member got into a dispute with some other country (don't forget that the German invasion of Poland, which many didn't consider to be a huge thing, is thought to have started World War II.)

ContrarianDutch's point that Russia won't ally with China/India/or whoever because of lack of shared identity ignores one of the key behaviour in politics. Countries act in their self-interest and will ally or threaten anyone. The fact that USA was allied with Pakistan (against India) a few decades ago is a good example of that. Or one would never imagine that USA would be allied with the House of Saad (in Saudi Arabia.) Or even a Europe alliance with Turkey, which was accepted into NATO a long time ago, would seem bizarre. The fact of the matter is that I can easily see USA and Europe driving Russia away.


As for the oil arugment that is brought up, it always plays a role but isn't a big deal in this case (the fact that the rail link was damaged or the port city was embargoed simply seems like a military action. I think this arguemtn would have merit if Russia stayed there forever or completely destroyed the oil infrastructure, which it never did (the BTC pipeline is fine as far as I can tell)). Georgia is simply a transit route. It can be re-routed, although not easily, through some other means. If Russia had imperialistic intentions with respect to oil, it would invade, say, Kazakhstan, which actually holds oil rather than being a transit route.

Anonymous
August 22, 2008 at 7:43 AM

Thanks for taking the time to reply. My belief is that failing to defend a sovereign democracy now against a foreign takeover risks a much greater conflict down the road. Failing to defend Georgia now will invite further Russian aggression that will ultimately lead to a much wider conflict. I see this situation as analogous to Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland in the name of minority German rights. Churchill called World War II the unnecessary war – he believed that had the Allies stood up against Germany when it annexed Czechoslovakia, WWII never would have happened.

You see working to restore Georgia's sovereignty as risking a much greater conflict – Georgia should be sacrificed for future peace. I hope you are right, because that’s the path the west is taking.

Disclosure: Long Liberal Democracies.

August 22, 2008 at 12:42 PM

Anonymous: "Thanks for taking the time to reply. My belief is that failing to defend a sovereign democracy now against a foreign takeover risks a much greater conflict down the road."

Trying to defend a so-called "liberal democracy" (anyone that unleashes his security on protesting citizens doesn't fit my notion of true liberalism) is going to lead to perpetual wars forever. You can literally invade a huge chunk of Africa or Asia under that pretext. I mean, some of those African "democracies" (I like to think of them as dictatorships) need help more than anyone else. Or are they not equally worthy?

I am of the belief that you can bring neither liberalism nor democracy with the barrel of the gun. It doesn't mean it can't work, but it's rare that it does.


Anon: " Failing to defend Georgia now will invite further Russian aggression that will ultimately lead to a much wider conflict. I see this situation as analogous to Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland in the name of minority German rights. Churchill called World War II the unnecessary war – he believed that had the Allies stood up against Germany when it annexed Czechoslovakia, WWII never would have happened. "

That's a ridiculous comparison and I'm not going to say much other than the following: Even if Czechkoslavakia wasn't taken over and WWII did not occur (a hard to prove proposition given the imperialistic ambitions of Germany,) it would not have prevented mass etnic cleansing (of Jews, Gypsies, etc) and it wouldn't have prevented Germany from invading Russia, Middle East, and then Asia. May be it wouldn't have prevented WWII but it certainly would have little impact on the Nazification of Asia.

The point I'm making is not that one should do nothing at all times. Rather, oversimplfication and relying on weak arguments are what lead to wars in the first place. Let's not forget that the bogus war in Iraq was first carried under the simplistic notion of "weapons of mass destruction" before being quickly made out into a war for "democracy and freedom". Saakshavili's attempt to re-take South Ossetia, which seems more and more to have been supported by USA and NATO under the pretense of a "democratic leader," has increased the probability of a world war than anything Russia did in the last 10 years. Russia is no saint but I haven't seen any escalation towards war from their side. I like to think that Gorbachev is right in his latest op-ed saying that Russia didn't want any war. Maybe Gorbachev is some dictator that wants to return to Russia to the totalitarian disaster that was Communism. Or maybe not. Maybe he is right.



Anon: "You see working to restore Georgia's sovereignty as risking a much greater conflict – Georgia should be sacrificed for future peace. I hope you are right, because that’s the path the west is taking. "

First of all, I completely disagree with your view that we are somehow sacrificing Georgia. I have never supported Russia invading Georgia and maintaining a presence there. I have also never argued against Saakshavili's path towards democracy--I actually think he did a good job. The problem, I see, is that Saakshavali either became a puppet of warmongers or became overly nationalistic and thought that America and Europe would send its troops, on top of dropping money from helicopters, if he took on Russia. On top of not having the moral ground with the massive invasion of South Ossetia, I don't know how a liberal, if he is one, could have thought that would lead to anything.

I also disagree with the notion that "that is the path the West is taking". Hardly. What I am proposing is not what is happening at all. If anything, the Bush administration has strengthened its policy towards Georgia of late and even went ahead and said that Abkhazia and South Ossetia belong to Georgia (I'm reading this to imply that USA will provide arms and money for Georgia to take it back), and presidential candidates McCain and Obama have also said they will provide support (McCain is even more hawkish--not surpsing given that his foreign policy consultantant/advisor is a famous neo-conservative who was a paid lobbyist of Georgia a while ago.)

Georgia basically threw away all the progress they made in the last decade. It doesn't seem obvious to you--or to those who started the war--but it will become evident soon enough. I don't think Saakahvali is even going to last 2 years. The Georgian economy is going to be messed up for a long time now. All the money that America and Europe may provide won't make up for loss of the democratic and liberal ideas that were built up over the years. To see what I mean, just think what George Soros and his organizations, who played a critical role in advancing liberalism in these countries, is going to think about all this. Will anyone ever want to blindly ally with a "liberal democrat" who is more prone to starting a war and worrying about his country? Will private citizens donate money to these organizations that advance these liberal principles anymore? I just wonder.

Saakshvali and his backers should have brushed up on their studies a little more before playing a game of chess--with winners-take-all--against Putin. If these guys weren't leaders of countries, you would think it was some child who came up with these strategies for advancing "liberalism" and "democracy".



" Disclosure: Long Liberal Democracies."

Those that stray from the path of liberalism can do more damage than the enemies of liberalism...

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