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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 19th, 2008 - 01:25:47

Condi�s piano rendition of �Georgia on My Mind�
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 19, 2008, 00:19

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Can anyone imagine Don Corleone asking for �his favors� at the very start; then later, have all grantors queue at his door to request an audience so they may ask for the return favors? Strange, you say? Perhaps, but America has become this new Don Corleone when it comes to this business of favor-exchanges in affairs of state . . . and bullyism.

This role of Godfather-in-reverse goes hand in hand with America�s faith-based credit mentality: Borrow and spend limitlessly now -- whether dealing in cash or in political favors -- then pray for the debt to magically go away, disappear: the miracle of loaves and fishes but this time in reverse. But to the rest of the world this nation�s credibility, as one might expect, has been finally taken to task; and although our sure-to-drown-us debt has not been called in . . . yet, some promissory-favors have.

Sure enough . . . last week it was one of Uncle Sam�s adopted political nephews who called in his request from Tbilisi; a call to Bush�s Slavic Studies� expert-in-residence, our very own Cyrillic calligraphist, Condoleeza Rice. All President Mikkheil Saakashvili wanted from the head of the US State Department was a rather simple request: that the White House�s jukebox be kept playing that catchy Georgia song. And no, Mikkheil didn�t seem to much care whether it was Ray Charles singing or someone else; as long as Vito, in full Spaghetti Western regalia -- cowboy boots, �W� belt and all -- was nearby listening to it.

Who would have thought of telling Stuart Gorrell back in 1930 that those lyrics he was writing about Hoagy Carmichael�s sister were ambiguous enough to apply not just to his buddy�s sister, Georgia; but also to a peachy state in the South; and, with a little help from The Beatles, even to a republic in the Caucasus warmed by the Black Sea.

Well, Saakashvili shouldn�t be complaining much; Georgia has been on the news daily and on most anyone�s mind . . . even if only one in 50 Americans could likely point their geographic finger as to where that nation might be; or, for that matter, even a state with that same name. News anchors and anchorettes throughout the land, as ignorant as the public they serve, seemed to be at times tentatively goading our military to answer what they saw as a Russian challenge. How dare anyone provoke us! 

Our secretary of defense had a quick and firm answer for our bellicose corporate press. Mr. Gates emphatically negated the possibility of any military �reaction� on the part of the US to Russia�s military incursion in Georgia. That apparently would have been the case even if Georgia had become part of the NATO alliance. That also applies to Ukraine.

But it isn�t Russia that is challenging the United States with her protectionist stance towards the two regions in Georgia that have a long history of distrust and disdain for Georgia�s central government: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The ethnic non-Georgian population of these regions has shown throughout history, not just by their actions but by the results of referenda that they do not wish to be part of Georgia, preferring their de facto independent status. During their days under the Soviet Union, these peoples felt their independent status protected and preserved, but since the Soviet breakup they feel compelled to find econo-political justice elsewhere . . . and Russia appears as the only logical candidate for that. 

Of course, all of this turmoil plays havoc with American efforts of more than a decade to bring about change in that part of the world with �model� bloodless revolutions with beautiful sounding names, such as the Rose Revolution in Georgia or the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. In reality, they should be called instead Dollar-Cushioned revolutions which simply were promoted by the US Central Intelligence Agency to change Eastern Europe, from the Baltic to the Caspian, from governments of Corrupt Sovietism, to governments of predatory Corrupt Capitalism.

An American foreign policy that treats Russia with the same disdain that it treats the peoples of the Middle East will no longer work; and Russia has for some time now ceased to be a poor cousin waiting in vain for a helping hand they never got from the West in the 1990s. Instead, it�s the US that may be turning into that poor cousin.

Play it again, Condi . . . let Saakashvili know the US is in his corner, at least in spirit; and this time play it in rubato time, a changing time-feel to denote the difficult times that this nation is going through . . . as our economy makes us discard the fancy duds of a rich uncle . . . no longer the capitalist world�s Vito Corleone.

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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