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Commentary: Russian bombs' message is 'this is for America'

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  • Beck: Georgia president says Russians want to kill idea of freedom
  • Saakashvilli turned one of most corrupt nations into thriving economy, he says
  • Beck says this is a conflict being fought over ideals of democracy
  • U.S. needs to recognize threat and grow stronger to fight it, Beck says
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By Glenn Beck
CNN
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Editor's note: Glenn Beck is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET and also hosts a conservative national radio talk show.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck says Georgia's president believes in the ideals that formed America's democracy.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- "This is for America. This is for NATO. This is for Bush."

These were the phrases that the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvilli, told me were on Russian bombs falling before, during and after the numerous cease-fires that have come and gone since the Georgian-Russian conflict began.

He went on to say that he believed the Russians were not fighting a war with Georgia; in reality, they were fighting a war against the idea of Georgia, the governing principles behind it.

To have a flourishing democracy in a neighboring country is seen as a threat. It is a stark contrast from Russia's brand of state-controlled pseudo-capitalism. The Russians, he said, "want to kill the idea of freedom, and by proxy they imagine they fight a war with the United States."

Although the name Georgia is familiar to the United States, the country isn't. Most Americans don't know its remarkable story. The first time I spoke to Saakashvilli a few months earlier, it was under much more pleasant circumstances. I found him to be a young, energetic and well-spoken reformer who in many ways understands our founding fathers better than most Americans.

He spoke to me about his vision for Georgia, the vision that transformed it from a failed state to a burgeoning democracy with a quickly growing economy.

He said, "the government is going to help you in the best way possible, by doing nothing for you, by getting out of your way. Well, I exaggerate, but you understand. Of course we will provide you with infrastructure and help by getting rid of corruption, but you have all succeeded by your own initiative and enterprise, so you should congratulate yourselves."

Saakashvilli turned one of the most crooked nations on the planet into a place where people want to do business. His way of dealing with Georgia's incredibly corrupt police was amazing. No talk, just action.

"The first thing we did a few years ago when I became president: We fired the entire police force of the country." That's right, about 40,000 officers were fired, by his count. New recruits were brought in, and he told me that the public confidence in the police skyrocketed from 5 percent to 70 percent.

The notion that Saakashvilli believes in the ideas that formed our country isn't a surprise. He attended Columbia University Law School and studied our founding fathers, becoming determined to give the people of Georgia the same opportunities and freedoms that we take for granted here.

Imagine a nation with ideals forged in the traditions of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Monroe, sitting in what once was the Soviet Union. Now imagine how much that might be appreciated by ex-KGB agents like Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister.

When I spent a half an hour with Saakashvilli on my show this week, his mood was much different than in our earlier conversation. I told him that if Americans knew the story of Georgia, they would realize how important it was. I asked him to speak directly to America, tell us what is really happening and why we should care.

He said, "when the Soviet Union collapsed, when the Cold War was over, when I went to study in the U.S. and finally I realized my dream, I never thought that this evil would come back again. I never thought the KGB people would again try to run the world. And that's exactly what's happening now. What`s at stake here is America's -- America's ideals. If it will collapse in Georgia, it will collapse in other countries and in other places as well."

Luckily for Georgia, the world has generally aligned against Russia's aggression. Whether there are any teeth behind the talk is still unknown. Saakashvilli expressed gratitude for the supportive comments made by President Bush and both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.

Even the United Nations issued a statement to express "serious concerns at the escalation of violence." Incredibly, that didn't seem to stop Russia. Who would have thought? If things get worse, I'll expect the U.N. to issue a harshly worded letter, a disapproving glare and maybe even a mildly annoyed "tsk tsk."

It's hard to know for sure what is really behind this conflict. Analysts have theories; citizens have sides. But even if you look past the 'he said, she said," in the end, it still goes back to a war being fought over ideals.

Back in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan led the effort to bring down the Soviet Union, partly by spending them into oblivion. We had the resources, we unleashed our economy, and we won (at least temporarily). We won by using the same principles that Saakashvilli talked to me about.

But he wasn't the only one watching and learning. Russia learned as well, and they now appear to be doing the same things that we did to them back in the '80's. Unless we wise up, we risk seeing the same result. We taught them this game. We can't allow it to be used against us. iReport.com: Do you remember the Cold War?

The long-term solution is to make ourselves stronger and more self-sufficient so that when these problems arise, we can't be held hostage. We need to become energy independent and financially solvent. But in the short term? I'm just glad I'm not president so I don't have to make these decisions. (Yes, I know you are, too.)

For now, we have to do what we can to strongly support Georgia, start to get our own ship in order, and take seriously the messages sent by the bombings.

"This is for America. This is for NATO. This is for Bush."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

All About Republic of GeorgiaVladimir PutinUnited Nations

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