Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aid to Georgia continues

Pentagon officials said the humanitarian aid to Georgia will move into longer range help in the future at a news conference today.

A second C-17 Globemaster III transport plane flew into the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. More flights will follow, but none are scheduled just yet, according to the Pentagon.

The Bush administration's decision to send military aircraft with medical supplies and other aid into Georgia also sends a subtle message to the Russians. Flying in aid allows the U.S. military to project force in the region without appearing provocative.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates also had strong words for the Russian's, saying they took advantage of an opportunity to send a message to other former Soviet republics.

He said the Russian military action was directed against Georgia, but Kremlin leaders wanted nations in all parts of the former Soviet Union to understand the dangers of integrating with the West.

“I think that they had an opportunity to make some very broad points [to these nations] and, I think, [the Russians] seized that opportunity,” Gates said.

Gates holds a doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.

Georgia, a small nation of about 5 million people has strong ties to the west and has also supported the U.S. in the war on terror. Until recently, Georgia had troops in Iraq. They were recalled when hostilities broke out with the Russians.

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