Friday, 15 August 2008

Jeff Weintraub: Return of the Russian Bear

An excerpt:
Thomas de Waal is probably right to offer the plague-on-both-their-houses judgment that "The immediate trigger of this conflict both Moscow's and Tbilisi's cynical disregard for the well-being of these people" in South Ossetia. But given the way that the war has developed since then, the Presidents of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were also quite right to declare in a joint statement that Russia's attack on Georgia was the latest manifestation of an "imperialist and revisionist" policy aimed at restoring Russian hegemony over what the Russians call their "near abroad." That is the heart of the matter, and discussions about whether Saakashvili is really a good guy or a bad guy, a wise leader or a foolish one, sufficiently or insufficiently democratic (compared to which other leaders in the region?), are really just distractions or evasions.

And his follow up.  Related: Abkhazia and South Ossetia - Differences Matter, from the NY Times.

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