There are occasions when one nation’s foreign policy can look more like a toddler’s tantrum over toy privileges, rather than a mature response to the actions of another country. Using US naval destroyers to deliver aid to Georgia is a perfect example.
The USS McFaul is the first of three naval vessels to arrive off the port of Batumi, on the Georgian coast, supposedly carrying blankets, hygiene kits and baby food.
While aid agencies are working in the area, the need for aid shipments isn’t quite clear. During the conflict, around 30,000 South Ossetian refugees fled to North Ossetia, part of Russia and presumably beyond the domain of western agencies, and it’s estimated 128,000 were displaced within Georgia. This is not, however, sub-Saharan Africa. Georgia is a European nation. A minor skirmish with its larger neighbor, that lasted two weeks, can hardly have depleted stocks of merchandise sufficient to require an operation more suited to Ethiopia or Sudan.
It begs the question whether three US warships laden with babymilk are really answering a desperate plea for assistance from the Georgian people, or if their response has more to do with the need of the US government to wave its flag off the Georgian coast, in the hope Russia’s military will notice and flee in fear and trembling, back to their homeland.
Neither is the case. The purpose of the USS McFaul, and its sister ships, is to wave the flag towards the folks back home in America. It says to Americans, “Look at us. We’re here to stand up to those nasty Russians and sort the problems they caused by invading poor, defenseless, little Georgia.”
Unfortunately, the US warships presently lying off Batumi can’t get into that port to unload, because the water’s too shallow. There’s a much bigger port up the coast at Poti, with good depth of water, but the US warships dare not go there.
It’s still occupied by the Russians.
Filed under: Georgia on my mind