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Web Letter

Discrediting personalities is easier than discrediting ideas that are associated with these personalities. Mr. Ames would not be interested in President Saakashvili’s achievements and how this president turned a corrupt and failing state into a blossoming democracy in just about four years. Incidentally, the “opposition leaders” never protested against the grieving state of Georgia in the nineties.

I advise Mr. Ames to ask them about the silence when next he talks to them. I will also advise the author to look deeper into the reasons Mr. Usupashvili’s party could not get enough votes to make it into Parliament. Mr. Ames may discover embarrassing facts about some of the leading figures in Mr. Usupashvili’s party. Then we’ll talk not about a pro-American but a very much pro-Russian party. The people usually make right choices, no matter how politicians label them. Why didn’t Mr. Ames talk to Georgian intellectuals, or to the opposition, who are currently successfully working for their country in the Parliament? As for Ms. Burjanadze and the rest of the respondents, this is the voice of disappointed politicians feeling neglected and mistreated. Mr. Ames can find such respondents everywhere in the United States as well. In Georgia, not many people have heard about Ms. Kochladze. Believe me, her opinion will be interesting just for this article to help Mr. Ames push his own political agenda.

No matter what the agenda, though, the facts should not be distorted. Russia’s crushing defeat was not just of US-backed Georgia but of a sovereign and independent state with Western aspirations and hopes for a more civilized coexistence with the rest of the world. Nobody wants war. Mr. Ames should have looked deeper into the matter to see whose interests this war served--who gained from the current situation and who has gloated at the misfortune.

As for the Americans, some of them have not heard of Atlanta, Georgia, let alone an ancient country in the Caucasus.

Dory Baramidze

Washington, DC

Sep 24 2008 - 11:05am

Web Letter

I absolutely agree with you that Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president, never mind president. But I don't appreciate your completely gratuitous swipe at the state of Georgia. Hard as it may be to believe, we're not all racist idiots here. As a matter of fact, and I realize this is completely anecdotal, I see a hell of a lot more Obama bumper stickers around town than McCain ones. But many of the Georgians who will vote for McCain will do so largely because "progressives" like you clearly expect no better from them. Why line up to support people who clearly despise you?

Angela C. Bozeman

Acworth, GA

Sep 18 2008 - 11:18am

Web Letter

Georgia is also known as the birthplace of Little Richard, Flannery O'Connor and uber-tasty Fellini's Pizza, you fuckwit.

David Bach

Birmingham, AL

Sep 17 2008 - 7:36am

Web Letter

An interesting essay, if a bit rambling and twenty-somethingish in tone. I have to agree that Palin would be a disaster as a VP with regards to Russian and her former satellites.

Do the oil companies want Palin out of Alaska? She's either a shill working under the radar very successfully, or they need her out of the way and McCain's the perfect guy to help them out.

Palin's lack of worldview, education, experience and ambition made her easy picking for the oilies and their buddies the neocons.

Brooke Heppinstall

Palmer, AK

Sep 17 2008 - 3:58am

Web Letter

I agree with Mark's main point, but want to criticize his unnecessary jibe at the state of Georgia. I looked up the last reported KKK rally there. It was 1931. No need to give grist to critics of The Nation and progressives generally as being out-of-touch elitists who stereotype "normal" people.

Peter Rothberg

Brooklyn, NY

Sep 16 2008 - 10:58am

Web Letter

Well, let's see... We have the twisting of a candidate's words to promote the preconceived notions of the writer. The suggestion of a vast bramble-bush-like right-wing conspiracy, multifaceted and involving the candidate, her family and, of course, those evil oilmen.

The usual reminder of racism resulting in a cynical shot at no less than an entire state.

An elitist assumption of the ignorance of the general public regarding the subject of the article, with the corollary that the writer will help them understand.

Kudos for the aggressors.

All this in roughly the first three paragraphs. Sounds like an angry uninformed liberal to me!

(Perhaps the solution to involving ourselves in thses international disputes that center on oil would be to, oh I dunno... drill for our own, maybe?)


Reisterstown, MD

Sep 16 2008 - 7:49am

Web Letter

Good article! Interesting flow of logic (BP-Georgia-Russia). So let’s follow the author’s logic further.

Why have Russia (and Putin), according to the Western press, suddenly become evil? Oh, I know--lack of democracy! Well, Iran's Mossadegh showed the world how deeply Big Oil cares about democracy. Perhaps, as the author suggests, it is really because Putin did not allow Western companies like BP to control Russian strategic resources. No one disputes that Russia is now a petro state. And it is so aggravating to see billions of oil dollars in the past couple of years going to the Russian budget, to pay off the Russian debt and improve the Russian infrastructure and military, instead of all that money going to BP and others. And ExxonMobil was so close to getting that oil, with Khodorkovsky's help! No wonder Khodorkovsky is such a hero to the Western media (he illegally gained control over Russia's strategic resources, did not pay taxes and then was about to give those resources away).

Like the article suggests, perhaps sometimes it is wise to ask the people of the countries in question what regular people think and want. And what is in their interest. Last time I checked, that is the democratic way to go.

I am hoping Georgians, Ukranians and others will be smart enough to realize that they are being used to advance goals that have nothing to do with the economic and democratic prosperity of their countries. What they really see is a politics of distraction. Evil Russia is like an abortion issue for those countries. And evil Putin is devouring babies every morning.

And everybody remotely familiar with American political culture can pinpoint without any hesitation the masters of this game.

Denis Smirnov

Philadelphia, PA

Sep 15 2008 - 11:03pm