Mikheil Saakashvili is hardly a George Washington. But you would be hard-pressed to find a more articulate proponent of democracy and freedom than the embattled Georgian president. To watch his calm, dignified, but desperate pleas for help on Western media as the Russians invaded his country was heartbreaking.
As Europe watches -- or maybe doesn't -- Vladimir Putin is laying claim to the continent's energy future, as he attempts to resurrect the Soviet Union's inglorious reign. With control of Georgia, Putin would have control of "the only significant European-bound route for Caspian Sea oil and gas that does not go through Russia," notes syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
"Moscow would become master of the Caspian basin," he writes.
And, of course, the Georgian invasion is Russia's shot across the bow of every former Soviet satellite.
We agree with Krauthammer that the world must respond swiftly and decisively -- at the very least diplomatically. Russia should be kicked out of the G-8 group of economic powers, kept out of the World Trade Organization and otherwise isolated as much as possible. Russia even has a presence in NATO; that should end yesterday.
Krauthammer also supports a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which is supposed to be near the site of this Russian war crime.
Russian leaders, to add insult to injury, have lied repeatedly about their intentions in Georgia, promising to withdraw over and over and only pillaging Georgia further. It's becoming clear, as Krauthammer suggested on this page Monday, that Russia intended all along simply to remove Saakashvili from power and replace him with a puppet of Moscow's. And, in the process, exert even more control over Europe's energy.
Atrocities such as this are rife in Russian history. But thanks to global communication satellites, we're able to watch this one live.
Until the Kremlin targets the satellites, one supposes.