Fred Kaplan at Slate lays out how Bush/Cheney egged on the Georgians to believe that they're de facto members of NATO, that America will protect them against the Russian bear.
When W went to Georgia, he said this to an ecstatic crowd:
The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone. Americans respect your courageous choice for liberty. And as you build a free and democratic Georgia, the American people will stand with you.... [T]he sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia must be respected -- the territorial [sic] and sovereignty of Georgia must be respected by all nations.
If that's what he said in public, what has he been saying in private to Georgian President Saakashvili about the Russian forces that have been encamped in and controlling Georgia's breakaway province South Osettia since the breakup of the Soviet Union?
It's hard not to be reminded of how George W. Bush father, in 1991, notoriously suggested that "the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people... take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside." When the Kurds tried to do just that, and begged for help, the best 41 could offer was an Emily Litella-like Never mind.
I'm not bothered by 41 having an Oedipal thing to work out with 43. I just wish it they could do it around the dinner table, instead of breaking so much crockery on the world stage.