The lights go out in Georgia
Posted by Ron Coleman on August 10, 2008
U.S.-allied Georgia called a unilateral cease-fire — “We are not crazy,” said President Mikhail Saakashvili — and claimed its troops were retreating Sunday from the disputed province of South Ossetia in the face of Russia’s far superior firepower. Russia said the soldiers were “not withdrawing but regrouping” and refused to recognize a truce.
The tactical reality is completely besides the point, actually. The Georgia adventure will always be remembered as Putin’s Grenada: An opportunity to rationalize a strategically meaningful, but far more symbolically significant, local annoyance into a mismatched demonstration of new resolve, a shaking off of reluctance to utilize force, and an opportunity for cheaply-bought national pride. For Putin, it is all that and more, seeing as how his project is so essentially revanchiste, and the ongoing existence of Georgia both as an independent state and a putative American ally is an ongoing poke in the eye to his neostalinist dreams.
Roger Kimball’s article (via Glenn) comparing the McCain and Obama statements on the situation also demonstrates nicely how, like the Grenada invasion, the Putin war on Georgia has the quality of distilling a wide range of political and moral realities. So many Cold War moments do.
Cross-posted on Dean’s World.