For now ... Be careful, we can impose sanctions too

TVNZ - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has warned that imposing any sanctions against Russia could backfire as much of Europe depends on it for its oil and gas. ...... France, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, is pressing Moscow to keep its pledge to withdraw troops from Georgia to the lines it held on August 7 before fighting erupted. EU leaders warned the Kremlin this week they could postpone talks due this month on a new EU-Russia partnership pact, but have avoided tougher sanctions. ...... "What sanctions do you want against the country supplying you?" Kouchner told Newsweek in an interview published on the weekly's website on Saturday. "(Russian President Dmitry) Medvedev said: 'Be careful, we can impose sanctions too'.
And there you have the ultimate result of soft power, the United States of Europe. For all their fancy talk of alliances and one people and all that, the best they could come up with is, 'we won't talk to you today, we'll talk to you next week', to a Russia that tells them to, 'call me when you've grown a pair'. From the sound of it, it seems the EU needs Russia more than the other way round in this 'EU-Russia partnership pact', Putin and his lackey were right all along, Europe is for a free Georgia just not for freeing Georgia. A few days ago I read a take down by Victor Davis Hanson, who has probably forgotten more history than I'll ever know, of some expatriate fool who lives in Germany and is glad to have left America.

For all the lack of fear and worry that Germany provides its subjects according to this fellow, as opposed to the wretch that is America and as per my post a few down shows, it was only America who managed to actually send a sophisticated command warship to provide aid to Georgia and keep an eye on Ivan.

Which brings me to another story I read the other day, it's a bit old but one I think we ought to remember in these dark and dangerous times we live in. Remember Ingrid Betancourt, she was kidnapped and held by leftist FARC for 6 long years while she was campaigning for the Colombian presidency. Eventually the Colombian military freed her, I shall let Charles Krauthammer fill us in on the details that few of us know and many in the western world have little interest in learning.
Detroit News - On the day the Colombian military freed Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other long-held hostages, the Italian Parliament passed yet another resolution demanding her release. Europe had long ago adopted this French-Colombian politician as a cause celebre. France had made her an honorary citizen of Paris, passed numerous resolutions and held many vigils. Unfortunately, karma does not easily cross the Atlantic. Betancourt languished for six years in cruel captivity until freed by a brilliant operation conducted by the Colombian military, intelligence agencies and special forces -- an operation so well executed that the captors were overpowered without a shot being fired.

This in foreign policy establishment circles is called "hard power." In the Bush years, hard power is terribly out of fashion, seen as a mere obsession of cowboys and neocons. Both in Europe and America, the sophisticates worship at the altar of "soft power" -- the use of diplomatic and moral resources to achieve one's ends. Europe luxuriates in soft power, nowhere more than in l'affaire Betancourt in which Europe's repeated gestures of solidarity hovered somewhere between the fatuous and the destructive. Europe had been pressing the Colombian government to negotiate for the hostages.

...... Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, a conservative and close ally of President Bush, went instead for the hard stuff. He has for years. As a result, he has brought to its knees the longest running and once-strongest guerrilla force on the continent by means of "an intense military campaign (that) weakened the FARC, killing seasoned commanders and prompting 1,500 fighters and urban operatives to desert" (Washington Post). In the end, it was that campaign -- and its agent, the Colombian military -- that freed Betancourt.

...... "Behind the rescue in a jungle clearing stood years of clandestine American work," explained the Washington Post. "It included the deployment of elite U.S. Special Forces ... a vast intelligence-gathering operation ... and training programs for Colombian troops." Upon her liberation, Betancourt offered profuse thanks to God and the Virgin Mary, to her supporters and the media, to France and Colombia and just about everybody else. As of this writing, none to the United States.
Right now, there is no discomfort from mocking the American cowboy with his simplistic good and evil concepts. There is little sanction for laughing at an American warship and saying something stupid like, why do they need all these guns and bombs, why don't they just spend the money on healthcare instead. Perhaps one day those westerners who scorn the American hard power, will get the world they so yearn for, a United western world of Europe if you will. A world where all you can do is pass useless resolutions, start online petitions, hold candle-lit vigils and hold the odd protest march. Unfortunately for them, when that day comes, few will dare to call Dmitry Medvedev a lackey and the Russia's of this world will not stop at saying, 'Be careful, we can impose sanctions too'.

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