Holbrooke’s comments are going to drive a lot of my Russian visitors crazy but its backing of separatist parties could only have led to this. Russia will not find much sympathy in the West:

The West, already deeply concerned about Russia’s rising military assertiveness, is likely to see Russia’s involvement as naked aggression and its frequent calls for peace as disingenuous.

South Ossetia was trouble waiting to happen for years — a “frozen conflict” with tensions building just below the surface.

Georgia’s thunderous assault may have been a go-for-broke move by a country that felt it was out of options amid Russia’s growing dominance in the region. Or South Ossetia’s separatists may have provoked Georgia once too often.

A grudging cease-fire that ended a separatist war in 1992 left the region mostly under control of an internationally unrecognized government, but dappled with areas held by Georgian forces.

South Ossetia longed to be incorporated into Russia, whose province of North Ossetia contains their ethnic brethren. Georgia firmly rejected the prospect: Ceding the territory would bring Russia within 50 miles of the Georgian capital.

Negotiations were sporadic, often foundering on who should participate. Clashes broke out, especially near the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, which is in a pocket nearly surrounded by Georgian-held territory.

Tensions rose markedly this year after South Ossetia basked in Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, calling it an international precedent that legitimized its own refusal to remain part of Georgia.

Moscow boosted ties with the separatist government — and with a similar regime in Georgia’s other separatist region, Abkhazia — and repeatedly denounced Saakashvili’s push to join NATO.

If Georgia was seeking to light a fire under its allies it succeeded. I wonder what Israel will take away from this?

Richard Holbrooke (Wikipedia)


  1. coonass

    Richard Holbrooke: “If Georgia was seeking to light a fire under its allies it succeeded. I wonder what Israel will take away from this?”

    Apples and oranges – The Protocols of the Elders of Georgia is not a best-seller in Arab countries. Israel’s foreign policy is and always has been sui generis. No analogy between the two countries’ handling of their allegiances would be productive.

  2. David MacGuire

    Richard Holbrooke can say what he likes, after he was caught lying about his dirty little deal with Radovan Karadzic. This is all the US policy in Eastern Europe, coming home to roost. We’ve been trying to subvert Russian power in an area that has always been part of Russia’s Sphere of Influence. They told us what was going to happen if we expanded NATO any more and they told us what would happen if we stole Kosovo from Serbia. They drew a line in the sand and Bush took a dump on it. Now they are going back into Georgia and we’ll see them in Cuba, as well, no doubt.

  3. jerry p, NYC, USA

    Russia wants another empire… however, it will have to turn to its military to do so because their is nothing attractive about it – no soft power at all. this aggression will eventually make the world will turn against it. russia is authoritarian, corrupt, & has to rely on natural resources for wealth (its an economic basket case… just wait until energy nobody likes russia, especially its neighbors. who are russia’s allies? iran, venezuela, belarus, zimbabwe – disgusting! china, like most of russia’s neighbors, is too suspicious of Russia and wants to be too much a part of the west, so it’s not a close ally of russia. prices drop). i feel bad for georgia. I’d go and fight for their sovereignty.

  4. Danda

    The Russians tried, the Russians failed. It was Georgia’s fault to attack the capital of South-Ossetia, but it was Russia’s last great chance to show their nonexistant giant political muscles and military doctrine to keep the US where it should have been in their opinion. The only way for Russia to seek any progress, is the way of sabre rattling and starting a war, but since the mask has been taken off after 20 years of silent build up, the Russian totalitarian regime will face huge bitch slaps for any actions it will undertake to achieve victories for political interests by military force.

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