updated 11:34 a.m. ET, Tues., July. 15, 2008
VAZIANI, Georgia – One thousand U.S. troops began a military training exercise in Georgia on Tuesday against a backdrop of growing friction between Georgia and neighboring Russia.
Officials said the exercise, called “Immediate Response 2008,” had been planned for months and was not linked to a stand-off between Moscow and Tbilisi over two Russian-backed separatists regions of Georgia.
The United States is an ally of Georgia and has irritated Russia by backing Tbilisi’s bid to join the NATO military alliance.
There are several ideas that ran through my head: (randomly)
1. Are these troops out? I know US trainers are still there, but the numbers are a lot smaller. Are Israeli troops still there?
2. This has an impact on the oil pipeline for sure.
3. NATO membership for Georgia was postponed. Does this action kill it for now? How committed is President Bush to THIS shining light of democracy? Or Europe?
4. How prepared are we? In what way?
5. Authoritarian regimes seem to be strutting their stuff as opposed to Islamo fascists. Is this a sea change for the media to exploit?