Abkhazia calls for Russia's recognition
By Eric Walberg
Analogies of the Ossetia fiasco and its fallout with past events are coming thick and fast. Condoleezza Rice -- bless her heart -- says, “This is no longer 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia.” James Townsend, a former Pentagon official now with the Atlantic Council, compared the situation to Hungary in 1956. In both cases, the Russians being, well, the Russians. neocon Charles Krauthammer says Georgia needs “the equivalent of the Berlin air lift.” The Baltic statelets and Poland go back further yet, arguing it is a replay of Hitler and Stalin’s invasions of their territory, prompting Poland to quickly sign on the dotted line for US missiles (against the Iranians, of course).
But the most telling analogy is with Iraq and its ill-fated invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Kuwait indeed had been a province administered from Baghdad for millennia, so Saddam Hussein understandably coveted it, as Saakashvili does Ossetia. Hussein was convinced that the US had given him the green light after he had spent 10 years fighting the US’s latest bete noire, Iran, just as Saakashvili was given a similar ambivalent go-ahead to invade Ossetia. Even Townsend admits, “I think they misunderstand our eagerness and enthusiasm and think we are going to be behind them for anything.” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said it best: “It is hard to imagine that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili embarked on this risky venture without some sort of approval from the side of the United States.”
Taking this line of argument to its logical conclusion, perhaps the Americans encouraged the Georgian president in order to test the Russian reaction and to observe the preparedness of the Russian military.