Special to Canadian Dimension August 18, 2008
Fairytales are wonderful things – except when they are employed by adults to supplant a complex reality. Or, indeed, to turn that reality on its head. Nevertheless, it is precisely the word ‘fairytale’ that best describes the West’s reaction to the outbreak of hostilities in Georgia as even a cursory look at these events, and at the recent historical and political context of Eurasia, make abundantly clear.
To begin with, then, the attack by Georgia on its breakaway republic of South Ossetia in the early morning hours of August 8 was a brutal, gratuitous, undiscriminating assault that targeted virtually every public and civilian building in Tskhinvali. Upwards of 2,000 Ossetians were killed and some 34,000 (out of a population of some 73,000) were driven out of the country. Moreover, both the intensity and the character of the invasion were patently designed, not simply to take over the de facto independent republic, but to ethnically cleanse it of its inhabitants.
Yet, despite the clear sequence of events which demonstrate beyond any shadow of a doubt that Georgia’s Saakashvili was the instigator of an illegal and barbaric act of war, the West chose, instead, to come down on the side of ‘plucky little Georgia’ as though it was the aggrieved party. To comprehend this apparent paradox one need only, as they say, ‘follow the money’.