Statue of Joseph Stalin stood outside the Town Hall in Stalin's birthplace town of Gori, Georgia. After receiving significant subsidies from the U.S., Georgian government removed the monument as part of the country's "de-Sovietization" process.
Today three years ago, the short yet highly controversial war between Russia and Georgia took place. The events are especially memorable to the editors of the Russia Blog, who were typing away to provide an accurate picture of what was happening on the ground. (Click here to see our coverage of the events). Three years ago, Russia Blog's point of view was in a minority opposition to the American mainstream media and the U.S. government's official stance. Back then, Senator McCain called on bombing the Russian troops on approach to Georgia (in his own words "bomb bomb bomb Russia"), The Washington Post and the White House openly supported the untrue facts that the Russians were the first ones to attack, and among all of English-speaking media, Russia Blog was the only outlet saying the opposite: Georgia attacked, killed innocent people, Russia responded, and the U.S. wasted its money. The truth brought millions of visitors to our site, temporarily crushing our servers and flooding us with both praise and criticism.
Months after the events, The Washington Post switched sides and finally told the truth (which was very similar to our initial writings), though--as I recall--only on the the third page. Only outcries and criticisms of Russia deserve the first page, everything else goes elsewhere. (Though the same is true for anything - in Western media bad news is great news, and good news is no news). During the WikiLeaks scandal it became apparent that neither American intelligence nor the State Department had any idea what they were talking about. They lost access to any information on the ground and control of Georgia's semi-insane President Saakashvili (who literally ate his tie while on Georgia national TV). Furthermore, WikiLeaks-released documents stated that even after the officials in Washington found out the truth, they still stuck to the "party line." "Oooppssies" moment of missing the start of the war and being blind throughout the whole process was too hard to face.
A couple years went by, and in 2010 former presidential candidate McCain still insisted on supporting Georgia in its fight with Russia. In our posts, we usually give unsolicited advice to Putin and Medvedev; here is an advice to Senator McCain: Georgians love American taxpayers' money! In fact, the Georgia's locals say that the American money given to Georgia to rebuild the infrastructure after the war have been used to build brand new ski resorts (better than the ones in the States). Those in the Senate passing such bills first should have visited the affected Georgia' villages, as did one of Discovery Institute's fellows weeks after the war. What he found were a couple holes in the dirt road and one hole in a pavement in the war's most affected city of Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. Our fellow (by the way, a U.S. citizen) sarcastically said that "maybe Russian bombing was even good, as at least it threw around the piles of garbage that hadn't been cleaned in years." He also found the monument to Joseph Stalin intact, doing fine, and overlooking the city square. To give U.S. Senate the benefit of a doubt, maybe McCain meant the state--not country--of Georgia, because otherwise, looking at the globe, it is hard to explain what exactly are the American national interest literally on the other side of the world, in Russia's backyard, in a birthplace of Joseph Stalin. In case the senators forgot, America is $14 trillion in debt and involved in three different wars, none of which are with Russia.
To put the icing on the cake - the war in Georgia became possible only due to the Pentagon's and CIA's involvement with that country. Harvard-educated, charismatic--yet slightly crazy and misguided--President Saakashvili, sincerely believed that the U.S. were going to get involved and start the war with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia - places that no American had ever heard of. The scariest part is that he was not far away from the truth. Maybe U.S.-Russia relations are still in a much worse situation than many of us think if a U.S. Senator, during his presidential campaign, feels comfortable saying "Bomb bomb bomb Russia." Russia holds a lot of U.S. securities. Given that Russia may never see its money again, maybe Putin should write a check to McCain for a few million dollars, to build those missiles, fill up those planes, and "bomb bomb bomb Russia" over a ski resort in Stalin's birthplace.