Saturday, August 09, 2008

Georgia and Russia: Fighting Escalates over South Ossetia

While the world's been distracted by the Olympic fanfare, the Caucasus has burst into flames as Georgia and Russia come to blows over South Ossetia. Amid all the glittering Olympic rhetoric of world unity and whatnot, this is a harsh dose of brutal reality. The ancient Greeks, always a scrappy lot that fought each other as much they fought non-Greeks, at least had the idea of the "Olympic truce" to suspend hostilities while the Games were in session. No such luck for modern Games. The "truce" today is simply an idea, and one that looks increasingly naive.

Some things to consider about the current conflict: How much of the Caucasus fighting is really about South Ossetian separatists per se and how much is really about Russia flexing its muscles and wanting to hold/expand its sphere of influence? Georgia is, you'll recall, a US ally that has pro-Western leanings and a desire to join NATO.

Time to send in the clowns -- I mean, the diplomats.

UPDATE 1: I was half-joking with my shot at diplomats, but then I read this bit in a fresh report: "On Friday evening, the UN Security Council failed to agree on the wording of a statement calling for a ceasefire." *snort of derision* What a waste of space the Security Council is.

UPDATE 2: TigerHawk has more, with links.

UPDATE 3: Professor-blogger James Joyner thinks about South Ossetia in the context of Kosovo.

UPDATE 4: It is also, like most modern conflicts, a war of the media and information.

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