In any struggle between the dreamers and the realists the realists always win.
We’re seeing that played out right now as the supreme realist of our time, Vladimir Putin, not only is running circles around the dreamers of the West, but is also making them look like a bunch of incompetent ninnies.
Putin is playing the role of Vlad the Impaler, and the heads he is displaying atop Red Army bayonets as he marches through Georgia -- a la Gen. Sherman -- are those of the leaders of what used to be called the Free World.
We should have seen it coming, but we were too busy with George Bush’s dreams of a democracy-drenched world -- and Western Europe’s preoccupation with the destruction of all vestiges of its Christian past -- to notice what Vlad has been up to as he goes about creating the latest version of a czarist imperialist Russia itching to expand its borders.
As the always-perceptive Ralph Peters wrote in the New York Post, Putin’s latest venture “not only sized up President Bush humiliatingly well, but precisely anticipated Europe's nonreaction -- while taking a perfect-fit measure of Georgia's mercurial president.”
Putin, he added, “not only knew what he was doing -- he knew exactly what others would do” an example, Peters wrote, of “intelligence work at the hall-of-fame level. (For our part, we had all the intelligence pieces in our hands and failed to assemble the puzzle.)”
Peters recalled the signs that were always there for the CIA to see, had they been able to recognize what was taking place right under their noses -- “the months of meticulous planning and extensive preparations for this invasion [that] were covered by military exercises, disingenuous explanations - and maskirovka, the art of deception the Red Army had mastered.”
The result? “The Russians convinced us to see what we wanted to see.”
The reaction of all of this by the Bush administration and our Western allies has been to run around like headless chickens. We have been shown exactly how it feels to be rendered impotent in the face of a determined opponent that doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks of him.
There are a lot of lessons to be drawn from this, but for Americans one of the most important ones concerns the current debate on energy. Nobody seems to have noticed that the crisis in Georgia points up once again just how dependent we are on getting much of our oil from areas of the world where turmoil is rampant.
A vital oil pipeline runs through Georgia, for example. One word from Putin and it shuts down.