Yesterday, Russia sent troops into the breakaway region of Georgia, South Ossetia, after Georgian troops tried to enter a "pro Russian" enclave. This triggered the response on which Georgian troops shot down Russian planes and triggered the Russians to invade as a "peace keeping force". The Russians claim the Georgians were engaging in ethnic cleansing and had killed up to 2000 Russian supporting Ossetians.
In the ensuing hours, the Georgian government delcared a state of war...tantamount to martial law as the Russians struck the suburbs of the capitol. The Russians claim that they are going to enforce peace. Georgia, an ally of the United States, has called back all of its 2000 troops from Iraq.
One strange event was the voice of a Georgian goverment minister being interviewed on CNN claiming that the Georgian Governments actions had the support of John McCain.
Strange, at first, until you look at McCains chief foreign policy advisor. A fellow by the name of Randy Scheunemann. A high profile advisor of a presidential candidate on the most important issues of world political relations and a high profile lobbyist, one of the heads of an influential firm, Orion Strategies.
This is the same firm, which recently made headlines in the influence for bucks scandal, selling contact with the Bush Administration, The President, in exchange for donations to the Bush Library. Mr. Scheunemann himself was connected with this but the charges have not gone beyond the appearance of impropriety.
Mr. Scheunemann, however, has been a paid lobbyist working for the Georgian Government and has taken strong pro-Georgian and anti-Russian positions.
He is a paid lobbyist for the Republic of Georgia, working to lobby John McCain and a paid advisor of John McCain, working as his foreign policy advisor, at the same time!
Also, freelance journalist Lindsay Beyerstein reported last month that Scheunemann serves as Worldwide Strategic Energy’s (WSE) point man on Georgia, helping the energy firm score deals with the Georgian government to assist in the development of its “hydrocarbon industry.” From a WSE internal document obtained by Beyerstein:
Randy Scheunemann is a registered representative of the Government of Georgia in the United States. Accordingly, Mr. Scheunemann has developed a very close relationship with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and many senior Georgian officials. The WSE team has also begun negotiating possible deals with the Georgian state-run oil company, National Oil Company of Georgia, to assist in the development of Georgia’s hydrocarbon industry.
So what then does Scheunemann do on Georgia’s behalf? He tries to get U.S. politicians on-board with Georgia’s full membership into NATO. In fact, he has had success with at least one Member of Congress, Sen. John McCain:
In 2005, Mr. Scheunemann asked Sen. McCain to introduce a Senate resolution expressing support for peace in the Russia-influenced region of South Ossetia that wants to break away from Georgia, the records show. […] The Senate approved Sen. McCain’s resolution in December 2005.
Sen. McCain has endorsed Georgia’s goal of entering NATO, a matter for which the country hired Mr. Scheunemann to lobby. In 2006, Sen. McCain gave a speech at the Munich Conference on Security in Germany in which he said Georgia should enter NATO.
According to Beyerstein, WSE’s internal document “was circulated to prospective investors in 2007,” and as USA Today noted, Scheunemann did not stop lobbying on behalf of Georgia until March 2008, but “he remains a principal at his lobbying firm, which still has Georgia as a client.” In fact, Scheunemann “had a phone conversation in November  about Georgia with Richard Fontaine, an aide in McCain’s Senate office.”
Helping a U.S. energy firm secure lucrative contracts with the Georgian government while lobbying American politicians for the former Soviet Republic’s NATO membership?
This information makes it pretty easy to conclude that Georgia embarked on its tragically mistaken course with the fantasy that they were "connected" and NATO would magically come to their rescue and pull their buns out of the fire.
It will pretty interesting to see how John McCain reacts to this, after the dust settles and the pieces are rearranged. The Georgian Republic has been in disarray since the break up of the Soviet Union. The South Ossitian Region has been autonomous for 10 years, but they are oil rich. The Georgians are being armed by the American ally, their neighbor, The Ukraine. There is much more to the involvement of World Strategic Energy which we will go into in later posts. Dick Cheney is a major player here and this is all part of their strategy of influence in the former Soviet Republics bordering the Oil Rich Black Sea.
One thing is certain, The Georgians sorely miscalculated when they thought that their actions would trigger a face to face intervention by the Americans, NATO and Russia. The most they can hope for is a return to the status quo after the tragic loss of a few thousand civilian lives. How will John McCain try to wag our dog with this one?