What’s Up Between Russia and Georgia
No doubt what Russia did in fighting Georgia was bad, but to offset the hue and cry of “Let’s go to war against Russia to save Georgia,” remember the following:
— Georgia started the war by sending troops into South Ossetia, which admittedly is part of Georgia, but there was no shooting until Georgian troops started shooting;
— In spite of George Bush’s professed love for Vladimir Putin, he has stuck his finger in Putin’s eye on numerous occasions, such as:
— Abrogating the ABM treaty with Moscow,
— Encouraging former Soviet states to join NATO, including Georgia,
— Encouraging pro-Western, anti-Russian, political movements in former Soviet states, such as the failed Orange Revolution in Ukraine,
— Forcing the separation of Kosovo from Serbia, viewed as an insult by the (pro-Russian) Slavs,
— Proposing to install ABM systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Arguably, Bush never liked or trusted Putin and the Russians and thus he decided to make hay while the sun was shining on the US, encouraging more and more former Soviet citizens to be pro-West and anti-Russian. The question is, did these anti-Russian policies produce the current Russian belligerence, or was Russia going to do this in any case? I think Russia’s belligerence is due at least in part to the anti-Russian policies pursued by the US. If Condi Rice had managed her Russian portfolio better the world might be a safer place today. But there is the argument that Russia was always evil and that Condi was right to continue the cold war policies she grew up with.