It occurred to me, when I cited this article as a reference for yesterday’s post, that it was the very one that had tipped me over the edge back when I was still satisfied to be a commenter at La Russophobe, and was the inspiration for this piece after I started this blog. It serves as perhaps the most illustrative example of citing bogus references, a common practice for this author. Adding the occasional hotlink to her loopy meanderings takes them from the realm of wishful thinking and preordained opinion to shaky legitimacy – unless, of course, you read the references; and discover they say or imply nothing of the kind.
Everybody knows how hotlinks work, but for those unfamiliar with their creation (which has become ridiculously simple with WordPress), it consists of typing up a phrase you think will be catchy and illustrate your point, then creating the link to the article you wish to cite. If you were thinking about starting your own blog, but were put off by complex procedures like this, in WordPress you merely highlight the phrase you want to use, and click on a small chain-link icon. A box pops up where you can copy and paste the link to the article. Select, “insert”, and it’s done. You used to have to do it with a long html code line that began with “href” and was full of arcane symbols like you were making up a prayer to a God that had a goat’s head or something. No more; it’s easy, and anyone can do it.
Anyway, back to the article. The first hotlink is more or less OK; Clinton did, in fact, say that Russia had “invaded and occupied Georgia”. Technically, it’s true. After reacting to Saakashvili’s provocative attack, Russian forces did push further into Georgia. So long as you’re standing on Georgian territory (as was the case in the cities of Gori and Poti) with a gun in your hand, I suppose you’ve invaded it and are occupying it. That’s where it stops, though. If it had not been Saakashvili who provoked the military action with his precipitate and ill-considered attack, an attack which is now recognized by all major impartial sources as having started the brief war, Western powers would have come to Georgia’s aid. You know this. The reference also quotes Saakashvili as saying “If you want to eat hamburgers with the president of America somewhere in a civilized place, it means you have to behave in a civilized way. It also means that you do not occupy another country.” He was apparently unaware of the irony in his words.
Moving on, we come to my favourite. The hotlink says Russians “scurried and mumbled and tried to hide their shock and pain”. If you click on it, you don’t have to go any further than the headline to see that Russia’s reaction was nothing like that. If you read further, you’ll see “Why is Russian reaction so mild?”, “But the Russian reaction this time? Astoundingly calm, even muted.”. Astoundingly calm, even muted. Scurrying and mumbling? There’s a word that describes that, and it’s what comes out of the north end of a southbound bull.
More calm, mature Russian diplomatic reaction is displayed just a little further on. “We understand that the Obama administration has to save face [in the former Soviet Union] and head off its domestic critics on the right,” says Andrei Klimov, deputy chair of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee. “Under the previous administration, the US took positions that are hard to back away from. But it’s mostly just words.” Trying to hide his shock and pain? I’d say, not so much. Further down, under a subhead that reads, “Kremlin shows restraint”, we read, “Experts say the Kremlin has been a model of restraint in the face of all this because it believes the Obama administration is going through the motions of reiterating Bush-era rhetorical positions, while going ahead full-steam to improve relations with Moscow.”
Just above, this suggestion appears to be affirmed. “Expansion of NATO into the ex-Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia appears increasingly unlikely after the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia…” This begs the question, what are Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Saakashvili celebrating in the photo that leads off the La Russophobe article? The death of Saakashvili’s dream of NATO acceptance? That’ll never happen as long as he’s the leader, because the West knows it’d be only an eyeblink before he had them involved in a war with Russia – NATO powers have a mutual-defense agreement.
If you go back to the La Russophobe piece and investigate the last hotlink (“bizarre neo-Soviet denials”), you’ll find that, too, is rubbish. Russia was invited to deploy its troops in the regions, it says. Is that true? Absolutely. Russian peacekeepers are matched in numbers by Georgian and Abkhazian/Ossetian forces, and they patrol in tandem. Saakashvili has since gone back on the agreement and squawked that he wants the Russian peacekeepers out, and they were always going to be “eventually” replaced by international troops, but in the meantime the agreement signed at the cease-fire remains perfectly valid and legal.
If you’re interested and want to dig a little in other articles, you’ll find dozens of examples in which the linked articles say nothing like what the hotlink phrases suggest. They’re just fantasies about what La Russophobe would like them to say. What a clown.