Russian Moves in Georgia

To the editors:

In discussing NATO’s efforts to protect Georgia from further Russian aggression (“Exercising Power in Georgia,” Opinion, May 13), Ellen C. Bryson offers readers much information that is incomplete and misleading.

Ms. Bryson fails to inform readers that Russia has recently stood alone against the entire Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to block impartial observers from monitoring the disputed border between Russia and Georgia. Thus, it is Russia that leaves NATO with no alternative other than military confrontation.

She fails to acknowledge that Russia has played a key and improper role in supporting the opposition protesters on Georgia’s streets, and she fails to admit that the protesters refused to carry on any discussions with the Saakashvili regime except regarding the terms of the democratically elected president’s resignation.

She fails to recognize Russia’s profound military weakness (while invading Georgia, many of its officers were reduced to communciating on their personal cell phones) or the effect of the nation’s recent economic collapse (stock market down three quarters, reserves down half, currency value down a third, double-digit unemployment and inflation). NATO in fact has far more power over Russia than Ms. Bryson imagines.

She attempts to impugn President Saakashvili’s democratic credentials, ignoring the fact that he is besieged by a giant neighbor where even vestigial democratic politics have been totally liquidated. The fact that Georgia remains to any extent democratic in the face of this threat is a miracle owing only to Saakashvili’s amazing personal courge.

But most of all, Ms. Bryson ignores the proven-effective doctrine of deterrence. NATO failed to take aggressive action to show solidarity with Georgia in 2008, and Russia invaded. By showing resolve in 2009, NATO is helping to deter a second invasion.

Kim Zigfeld

New York City, N.Y.

May 14, 2009

Kim Zigfeld is the publisher of the Russia blog “La Russophobe,” and the Russia columnist for the American Thinker and Pajamas Media websites.