by Mentarch | 8/19/2008 03:54:00 PM
However much one may try to analyze what has been going on lately in every possible way, the bottom line invariably boils down to one word: incompetence.

Here's a little something I wrote a while back and which bears repeating yet again:
Intellectual sloth reaps ignorance. In turn, ignorance festers fear which, as we know all-too-well, acts as a powerful motor in driving irrational thinking and actions. Furthermore, fear is quite expert in the exercise of nullifying any semblance of intellectual and emotional maturity in people – in other words, fear transforms a supposedly adult (and thus mature) person into an irresponsible, reactionary, judgement-impaired, and comfort-craving, child or adolescent. One who searches for easy and absolute answers (...) And such intellectual sloth, through the fear which it causes in those people guilty of it, eventually brings in turn the incapacity (or lack of willingness) to deal face-to-face with the unknown and the uncertain. Thereafter, the table is set at last for intolerance and hate to arise: the eternal and real justifications (although never self-admitted) behind violence in any of its shapes or forms.

(...) Ignorance breeds fear. Fear fosters hate. In turn, hate leads inevitably to violence (...) when will we acknowledge the fact, once and for all, that it is the incompetents among us who consistently promulgate violence as a solution for anything, to everything? (...) we must strive to forget nevermore that rationalizations supporting the use of violence - other than the need for the rightful exercise of self-defense when set upon by a genuinely clear, present and immediate danger - invariably constitute deceitful fabrications meant to conceal, disguise or justify incompetence ... including our very own for embracing such mendacity.
When Georgian armed forces bombed and entered the de facto (but still largely unrecognized) independent republic of South Ossetia, it was nothing more than an expedient exercise at re-asserting Georgian governance of the region despite having declared itself autonomous and independent some eighteen years ago (i.e. since 1990-1991). It was not the first time that S. Ossetians and Georgians had come to blows - nonetheless, the underlying reason for such conflict remained the same: Georgians simply refused to accept Ossetian independence. Once again, one nation (or empire) refused to acknowledge the aspirations of another, consequently resorting to force in order to "solve" the issue. In between, and very much not surprisingly, Ossetian separatists resorted to terrorism against Georgians, the age old (and all too often demonstrated) ineffectual approach to win one nation's independence from another.

That's the Sixth Principle of Incompetence largely at work here, on both sides of the equation. However, the greater onus lies with Georgia, especially when considering the Georgians' own (successful) aspirations of becoming independent from the former U.S.S.R. and, mainly, Russia.

Georgians should have known better how to react vis à vis Ossetian separatism, showing empathy and understanding in light of their own aspirations and achievement at independence, instead of initially falling swiftly into reactionary, violent territorialism - thus creating a downward spiral of Georgian-Ossetian violence (does this reminds you of anything else?).

But that is incompetence for you.

In turn Russia, a military superpower by any definition, has fared equally incompetently. Evidently fueled by still lingering dreams of empire (after all, it was not even twenty years ago the the old U.S.S.R. and Soviet Bloc disintegrated), Russia has kept meddling in the Ossetian-Georgian conflict. Hence when Georgia entered S. Ossetia last August 7th, Russia was quick to enter the embattled independent republic in turn. With claims of "helping to defend S. Ossetia" notwidtstanding, Russia nonetheless engaged in an expedient exercise of the use of force not only to "secure" S. Ossetia (in truth for itself), but obviously to also retaliate at the same time against Georgians for having separated from Russia to begin with. Since Georgia's declaration of independence in 1991, tensions between Russia and Georgia have ever been high and close to the breaking point of war.

Yet now war it is - with civilians (Georgians and S. Ossetians) paying the price, as usual.

And not surprisingly, Russia is slow (loathe? Too proud?) to leave Georgia, despite pledges of doing so.

Hence once again - what we have here is the Sixth Principle of Incompetence largely at work.

Then there is the U.S. - what can one say of the dizzying flurry of bold and firm statements condemning Russia (and Russia alone) in the last two weeks? A few examples:
"But the message is sent: I, Vladimir Putin, and Russia can do whatever we want to do, and you can’t stop us because we have the oil." - Bill O'Reilly;

"Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used, that will make it – that – when it wishes to deliver a message, and that’s its military power. That’s not the way to deal in the 21st century." - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice;

"In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations." - Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ);

"For anyone who thought that stark international aggression was a thing of the past, the last week must have come as a startling wake-up call." - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ);

"(...) we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression." - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ);

"Russia no longer shares any of the values and principles of the G-8, so they should be excluded." - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ);

"Russian actions, in clear violation of international law, have no place in 21st century Europe (...) We must remind Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world." - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ);

"This should be unacceptable to all the democratic countries of the world, and should draw us together in universal condemnation of Russian aggression." - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ);

"Military force will not resolve this dispute. The only viable long-term solution is international mediation and peacekeeping." - Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen J. Harper;

"Georgia is a sovereign nation, and its territorial integrity must be respected (...)" - President George W. Bush;

"With its actions in recent days, Russia has damaged its credibility and its relations with the nations of the free world. Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century. Only Russia can decide whether it will now put itself back on the path of responsible nations or continue to pursue a policy that promises only confrontation and isolation." - President George W. Bush.
Now replace "Georgia" with "(a few choices among so many: Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq)", and "Russia" with "U.S.A.", and then you get - you guessed it - that same old Sixth Principle of Incompetence.

Not taking into account the sheer incompetence-driven hypocrisy likewise at work here.

Hence the conclusion that Russia has acted as responsibly, as a superpower, as the U.S. have been (and still are) acting.

In other words - the bottom line remains: incompetence all across the board.

And I, for one, am getting rather sick and tired of this same old song being played over and over again.

(Cross-posted from APOV)

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