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Bin Laden on Georgia

2:32 PM, Sep 30, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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In Osama's latest audio recording, he says:

There is a lesson for you in the situation of your sister Georgia. Its people were bombed and humiliated, so they asked for help from America, to restore sovereignty over what had been seized from them, but the latter provided them with nothing but empty words; and after they insisted, American ships finally came, not to restore Ossetia and Abkhazia, but rather to provide what they had no need for: a few tents and a little food and laundry detergent.

So reflect on that deeply.

This is not a horribly embellished view of the Bush administration's response to the war in Georgia. Other than flying home the Georgian forces that were engaged in Iraq, the Bush administration did very little to support a a democratic ally that faced an existential threat from the Kremlin. The Obama campaign was even weaker in its response -- if that's possible. The soon-to-be president-elect called on both sides to show restraint. Obama might as well have called on the Poles to show restraint as the Nazis and Soviets carved up the country in 1939.

So it's worth keeping in mind that while Democrats were almost universally opposed to any U.S. support for Georgia during that war -- and ridiculed McCain even for declaring his solidarity with the people of Georgia -- the weakness of America's response to Russia's aggression has now become a talking point for al Qaeda. It is a rare instance in which Democratic talking points and al Qaeda talking points do not embarrassingly converge.

But the fact that al Qaeda is mocking America's shameful indifference to the invasion of Georgia should not obscure the real problem with abandoning our allies in times of crisis -- that bin Laden's interpretation of events is sure to ring true to America's allies in Eastern Europe and the rest of Russia's near abroad. When America fails to stand by her allies, it is a signal of weakness and a lack of resolve. And now that the Obama administration has rewarded Russia for its bad behavior by dropping missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, the message is clear: if Bush rolled over for Putin, Obama will find a way to be even more accommodating.

So which American ally wants to send additional forces to Afghanistan secure in the knowledge that should they face a threat to their own security, the American people will not return the favor?