Georgia On Our Minds

By Peter Bearse

Russia's invasion of Georgia marks a sea-change in the U.S.A.-Russia relationship. If we are not careful, the Cold War could start again. Why, then, have the media-designated 'leading' candidates for the U.S. Congress in New Hampshire's First Congressional District not spoken out or written anything on the issue? Perhaps it is because, unlike the Independent Candidate, Dr. Peter Bearse, they have no international experience - even though Congress frequently has to deal with global issues that, like Georgia, could rise up to threaten us at any time. Dr. Bearse is the only NH Congressional candidate who has worked in Georgia as well as two other major areas of major conflict, Iraq and Pakistan, and a dozen other countries worldwide.

The unfolding events in Georgia are not a minor sideshow in a far, inconsequential corner of the world. They threaten our national security.

So far, we have seen:

* Another failure of American intelligence.
* Another failure of President Bush:
* How our preoccupation with Iraq prevents us from effectively dealing
with a crisis elsewhere.
* A rise of Russian power that could threaten another breakaway from the
former-Soviet Union, the Ukraine, leading to another rise in oil prices,
and further undermining efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.
* And more; watch out!

Mixed and confused signals from our government emboldened Georgia's President Saakashvili to send troops into a province threatening to breakaway, South Ossetia. This, in turn, gave Russia's President Putin a ready-made excuse to send troops into Georgia. President Bush's immediate reaction was more weak tea. Even while Secretary of State Rice was pushing Saakashvili to sign a cease-fire agreement negotiatied by the President of France and signed by Vladimir Putin, Russia was planning to establish a "buffer zone" that would keep Russian forces inside Georgia.

The fundamental issue raised by South Ossetia is peoples' rights to self-determination and self-governance. We dropped the ball on this by not insisting that Georgia avoid force to bring South Ossetia into a unified Georgia. Instead, they should have offered substantial self-governance to the province and revealed how its people would lose freedom under Russia. A good example: Kosovo [where Dr. Bearse has also worked]. The Kosovars love us.

So, what is to be done? –

* Congress should hold hearings to get to the bottom of our poor handling
of the situation in Georgia.
* The U.S. should call on NATO to immediately admit Georgia as a member.
* We should call for Russia to be removed as a member - the only
non-democratic member - of the G8, a group of advanced industrial
nations.
* Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization should be
reconsidered.
* Start a crash project - like the Manhattan Project during WWII that
developed an atomic bomb in only 3 years - to rapidly complete
development of alternative sources of energy so that we can substantially
reduce our dependence upon foreign oil and reduce the value of oil exports
to Russia.
* BUT: Congress should immediately vote to APPROVE the Bush
administration's landmark nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia,
signed by both Presidents Bush and Putin last year. Or do we want to see a
resumption of the Cold War?

The Georgia crisis underlines the fact - as if it needed underlining! - that the post-Cold War word is a very dangerous place. Thus, a critical question that voters face is: Which candidate is best prepared to help us deal with the dangers? The answer? -- PETER BEARSE.

Released by Supporters of Peter Bearse for Congress, August 26, 2008.

Bio: Bearse is a 1963 graduate of Harvard University who received his master's degree and then Ph.D. in economics with high honors from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research in NYC. He served as economic advisor to two New Jersey Governors, Associate Director of the Center for New Jersey Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, and Founder/President of Development Strategies Corporation. As International Consulting Economist, he has worked in 15 countries, including Iraq and Pakistan.