Posted by: vernacularsnoop | August 11, 2008

Georgia v. Russia: no good guys

Don’t get me wrong. Russia’s military response to Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia should be condemned. The Russian counterattack defies any notion of proportional response, and the civilian loss of life from Russian bombing campaigns – including some outside the conflict zone – is abhorrent.

All that being said, I am troubled by the portrayal of Georgian president Saakashvili as a friend of America in major media outlets like the New York Times. Saakashvili’s decision to use force against South Ossetia caused this bloodshed. He knew that his aggression would provoke Russia. Why else would he time the attack to coincide with Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing for the Olympics, an event that, incidentally, is meant to be honored by the international community with the suspension of warmaking?

Saakashvili may be a friend of George W. Bush, but friendship with instigators like him could cause big trouble for America. Despite the media’s spin, this is not good guy against bad guy; this is wolf against bear. The people of Georgia and Russia deserve better than these men who callously squander their peoples’ lives in destructive power struggles.

While the international community should press hard for a ceasefire, it should also make it very clear that there are no rewards for launching an aggressive war, only consequences.

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