The Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has signed the French-brokered ceasefire agreement with Russia
Friday, 15 August 2008
As Russian forces started to hand over control of the Georgian town of Gori yesterday, you could detect a note of surprise, even disappointment, in many media reports. So the all-out Russian invasion of plucky little democratic Georgia might not be going to happen after all. Could it be that the bear was drawing in his claws?
Well, Russia did not have long to worry about losing its reputation as backyard bully. Within hours, the United States envoy to Georgia was spinning a whole new myth to the BBC about how it was only decisive US intervention – by which he presumably meant the warplanes laden with humanitarian aid by then ostentatiously parked at Tbilisi airport – that the mighty erstwhile Red Army had been turned back.
The many Georgians who had counted on more timely and robust assistance from their US protector surely laughed a bitter laugh. But there were signs, with the arrival of the US Secretary of State in Georgia, that this version was gaining hold. The story of this war, it seems, will be that the US faced down a snarling, expansionist Russia, and forced it to limp back to its lair.