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ICYMI: John McCain Addresses The Crisis In Georgia
"And I told him that I know I speak for every American when I say to him, today, we are all Georgians." -- John McCain
August 12, 2008
John McCain: "As you know, over the past several days, we have seen that international aggression is, tragically, not a thing of the past. We thought we'd put a lot of that behind us at the end of the twentieth-century. But now we find it's rearing its ugly head in the twenty-first. The small nation of Georgia has been subject to Russian attacks that threaten its very existence.
"Some Americans, when they read this news, may wonder where Georgia is or why we should care about the conflict between Georgians and the Russian army. It's after all a small, remote and obscure place. But history is often made in remote, obscure laces. And it's being made in Georgia today.
"Georgia itself, my friends, has a long and remarkable history. It was a fourth-century convert to Christianity, one of the first nations on Earth to convert to Christianity -- if you go to Georgia, as I have several times, you'll see churches that go back to the fourth- and fifth-century -- and it's been a part of the grand sweep that comprises Western civilization. But because of their location, their history hasn't been easy. Through the centuries, they have seen invasions and attacks from Mongols, Russians, Turks and Persians. And through it all, they maintain their language, their cultural identity, and their national pride. And as you know, they were part of the Soviet Union and were able to achieve their independence when the Soviet Union disintegrated. And they're facing terrible trials today, but they'll get through this, too.
"And, my friends, and I'll talk about this more in a minute -- but they're at a strategic crossroads. There's a pipeline, an oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, which brings oil from the Caspian to points west and traverses Georgia -- that's the very pipeline that the Russians tried to bomb. And I don't have to tell you about the price of oil and disruption of oil supplies.
"In this country -- it's that little country, a country whose territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty NATO countries reaffirmed at their summit in April --terrible violence has occurred. Now let me just remind you exactly what has taken place here.
"On Friday, Russian tanks and troops moved through the Roki Tunnel, across an internationally-recognized border, and into the Georgian province of South Ossetia. Two years ago, I traveled to South Ossetia, my friends, and we went through this barricade, and as soon as we got into this place, which the Russians are maintaining hundreds and now thousands of troops, there's this huge billboard and it said, 'Vladimir Putin, Our President.' Have no doubt about Russian ambitions in this area.