It is good that the President is sending Condi Rice to Georgia and having Secretary Gates organize humanitarian relief. But why stop there? What may be needed to resolve this crisis is a dramatic move by the President himself to highlight the gravity of Russia’s violation of Georgian territory and that may involve the President himself going to Georgia, standing side by side with Mikhail Saakashvili and declaring America’s friendship with the embattled Georgians. At the very least, while the President is there, the Russians would probably halt their military operations so as not to be accused of doing anything to put the life of the President of the United States in danger. And also, as others have mentioned to me, they wouldn’t want to deal with an angry President Cheney.
I know, of course, that my idea will never be embraced. Too risky. Too dangerous. And even if the President goes and the violence stops for a while, it may well start up again once he leaves. But public diplomacy by the President of the United States certainly does have a way of concentrating minds and an especially bold move might be particularly helpful in addressing the ability of the international community to focus on the war between Russia and Georgia.