Russians blitz; Americans punt.

Cue lone, mournful, sweet violin, accompanied by accordion. Roll footage of U.S. military training Georgian forces. Fade to forces in the attack while world leaders watch the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies in China. Flash to determined U.S. military advisors during gun battle between Georgia and Russia as music builds to a crescendo. Flash to bombed-out buildings and burning Georgian vehicles as the violin alone plays softly, sadly. Fade. …

Russia’s foray into the neighboring, democratic (for now) Republic of Georgia proved nothing short of awkward for the U.S. The Russian military’s suspiciously quick response has been compared to Germany’s crushing Blitzkrieg on the eve of World War II, in which it toppled Poland, Belgium, and who can forget, France in fast order. At that time, the U.S. had been rather good at avoiding those pesky entangling alliances.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the “demise” of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago, the U.S. eagerly has filled myriad voids in Georgia and much of Eastern Europe. The services have performed military-to-military, or foreign military, training, running the gamut from leadership to logistics to tactics. The web of U.S. support has been intricately woven (like a plot description from a daytime soap). Proximity to Russia, oil reserves, and instability in the region are but three compelling reasons to take the plunge.

Interestingly, tiny Georgia recently increased its presence in Iraq to two thousand, up from around 850. It has been reported this small nation is number three in military support to the coalition in Iraq behind the U.S. and the U.K. (and certainly ahead of France). Why the sudden increase? Possibly a show of solidarity in exchange for support later from the U.S. – like, well, uh, in case Russia dropped in with guns blazing.

Brooding Vlad (former president and man about the motherland, Vladamir Putin) who clearly had this “event” planned like the KGB superstar he always will be, epitomized patience and was nothing short of brilliant. Maybe Russia can’t be counted out, but it seems its military effectiveness still might be in question. The lightening-fast reaction into the ethnic strife in South Ossetia and Abkhazia might have been but an illusion. Why Georgian forces took the bait with U.S. representatives on the ground is perplexing. If the U.S. greenlighted the Georgian attack, advisors must have been confident of Georgian capabilities and the low probability of an outside threat.

We are reasonably sure all parties are happy that French President Nicolas (“Hot Nick”) Sarkozy (in a move to compensate for France’s loss against Team USA in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay) is working with Sad Vlad’s straight man, Prez Dmitry Medvedev, to find another peaceful solution — something at which the French excel.

We’ll keep an eye on continued foreign military training in the region. Can’t forget about those U.S. missile defense systems planned for Poland the Czech Republic. Brooding Vlad and the Rusky Choir Boys are miffed! 

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