Sunday, August 10, 2008

MN-02 : Kline needs to divest after Russia invasion of Georgia

On Friday, August 8, Russian military forces invaded Georgia targeting the areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with overwhelming military force including air attacks on Georgia's oil pipeline and airports. This aggression may not be just a movement by Russia to re-align its borders with two new friendly separatists’ states, but also to enhance its control of oil and gas resources while confronting acceptance of Kosovo as an independent country and NATO’s expansion plans.

To many this August 8th was unpredictable, yet Secretary of State Rice on July 10th visited Georgia and discussed the ongoing controversy. She was asked how concerned are you about the possibility of the violence in Abkhazia erupting into a wider war?” In the end, her response was “We always fight for our friends” and “Georgia’s future is in NATO.”

Russia’s economy may have improved and “democratic elections” may have taken place, but it is still a country with a concentration of power with leaders that are accountable to no one. There is still a crackdown on a free press, and restraints on individual rights and on free enterprise. The genocide against the Chechens is another stark reminder of how Vladimir Putin operates.

Georgia may not be clean in their management of the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but they have been America’s ally in the Global War on Terror. While the coalition of the willing has been diminishing, Georgia had 2,000 troops in Iraq prior to the Russian invasion.

This conflict will escalate as Bush and world leaders try to exert some influence. Congress may be asked to increase foreign aid (aka military aid) to Georgia … either overtly or covertly.
Representative John Kline, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, will have a voice.

But Kline should not wait for a funding request, he should take personal action immediately.

As previously written in Does John Kline Put His Money Where His Mouth Is ?, Kline has a personal investment in the ING Russia Fund. The ING Russia Fund is composed of 47.8% investment in the oil and gas industry. The dollar amount of Kline’s investment is immaterial, the fact is that he is placing his own personal investment in Russia over US interests. There are many places to invest your money ... after all, the U.S. is the number one investor in Georgia.

I am not a believer in sanctions as they have proven unsuccessful, but also don’t believe in war-profiteers.
Kline must divest now.

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