08/11/2008 08:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Russia and Georgia: Forget Munich, Remember Budapest

So, surprise, surprise, the Russians have moved into Georgia, killed a lot of people and cut the country in half. What will they do next? Who knows? But who is surprised by what they've done so far? Nobody who knows anything about the new Russia under Vladimir Putin, which does NOT include Bush, Cheney and their last, desperate hangers-on, including that Russian-speaking expert on the former Soviet Union, Condoleeza Rice. Slate's military columnist, Fred Kaplan, gets it 100 per cent right in a Monday column that's a must-read for anybody who cares about this subject. It's appropriately sub-headlined: "The Bush Administration's feckless response to the Russian invasion."

All of it reminds me of nothing so much as Hungary in 1956. The Eisenhower Administration urged the Hungarians to rise in rebellion against their Soviet masters, leading many of them to believe that the United States would aid them militarily if they did. So they did. And what military aid did the U.S. give them? Surprise, surprise. Nothing. And the Russian tanks moved into Budapest. And Hungarian patriots got killed. And Hungary remained crushed under the Soviet heel for the next thirty-odd years. Like the headline says: "Forget Munich, Remember Budapest." And don't mess with the Bear unless you're ready to back up your words with actions, which, in this case, would be more idiotic than even George W. Bush is.