Vice President Dick Cheney, on a visit to Georgia, spoke out against nations which use military force to intervene in the affairs of other nations. He described Russia’s invasion of Georgia as “an illegitimate, unilateral attempt” to change the country’s borders and expressed concern about Russia’s reliability as an international partner. The vice president assured President Saakashvili the United States would stand beside Georgia as a friend and ally “as you work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory and an illegitimate unilateral attempt to change your country’s borders by force that has been universally condemned by the free world.” However, there was no mention made as to whether the United States would re-equip the Georgian army.
Even as Cheney was expressing reassuring words to Georgia, Dimitry Gogozin, Russia”s fiery representative to NATO was warning the EU and the United States his nation would not stand by idly if Georgia was allowed to enter that organization. He insisted Russia had warned the UK it would take action if Georgia invaded South Ossetia, but British leaders denied ever receiving such information.
Dick Cheney’s comments may reverberate well to right wing Republicans who believe the Bush invasion of Iraq demonstrated that powerful nations had a right to invade other nations in order to reorganize the world, but most people in the Middle East see little difference between the vice president’s support for the American invasion of Iraq and Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia. In both cases force, rather than diplomacy, was employed.