Barack Obama’s endorsement of Joe Biden’s call for $1 billion in aid to Georgia for reconstruction dodges the question of reconstruction of what and where. As most of the fighting was in South Ossetia, which almost certainly will wind up as part of Russia, it is not likely that the money will go there. And is $1 billion an assessment of actual damage or just a nice round figure that everyone will be able to agree on? As part of it at least comes out of my pocket I would like to know what they have in mind particularly as it is by no means clear that we should be picking up the tab in any event. As Georgia started the war in the first place, even if Russia responded with a heavy hand, wouldn’t Washington be awarding the aggressor? And what if the corrupt President Saakashvili decides to hide all that cash under his mattress?
Obama was speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention at the time, so he may have been calculating that support of brave little Georgia would be appropriate. But maybe not. Many American veterans might not want to pour large sums of money down a rathole in the Caucasus and some might even be concerned about the likelihood that Georgia will soon be part of NATO, meaning that unleashing the Georgians in the future could easily lead to World War III.