[The Telegraph, U.K.]



Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

'Enormous Error' of President Bush's 'Georgian Protege'


"In deciding to 'liberate' South Ossetia, or as he called it yesterday morning, 'restoring the constitutional order,' Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has committed an enormous error. … Sooner rather than later, Saakashvili, a politician on whom the West and Poland have staked their hopes, will pay for yesterday’s mistake."


By Wacław Radzinowicz



Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


August 9, 2008


Poland - Gazeta Wyborcza - Original Article (Poland)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a cabinet meeting in Moscow, as Russian forces pushed deep into Georgia, Aug. 11


BBC VIDEO: President Vladimir Putin says the West is misguided - calling 'white, black, and black, white' and stuck in the Cold War, Aug. 11, 00:01:47 RealVideo

In deciding to "liberate" South Ossetia, or as he called it yesterday morning, "restoring the constitutional order," Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has committed an enormous error.


Like Slobodan Milosevic years ago, he doesn't understand that his country has a choice of either conducting a velvet divorce from the rebel provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia or facing chaos and dissolution of the country as a result of bloody conflicts. It's been clear since the beginning of the 90s: residents of the two provinces, skillfully abetted by Moscow, are determined not to live under Tbilisi government rule.


Perhaps the Georgian president had craftily bargained that on Friday, the day that the Olympic Games began - the Russians would remain neutral. If so, he was being naive, since Moscow would never let such an opportunity pass it by.


Russia has long openly supported renegade Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s rebellion against Georgia, and long ago granted citizenship to the vast majority of inhabitants in these self-proclaimed republics. Now that it has sent its tanks, helicopters and jets into South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinvali, it can honestly argue that the weapons are there to protect its own citizens.


Sooner rather than later, Saakashvili, a politician on whom the West and Poland have staked their hopes, will pay for yesterday’s mistake.


For now, however, the most important question is how to put an end to the conflict. Politicians, including Polish leaders, should strongly insist on an unconditional ceasefire by appealing to Bush and Putin, who luckily are both in Beijing. Putin must immediately withdraw his troops and cool the war fever of his friends in South Ossetia, while Bush must contain his protégée Saakashvili.




And then what? The conflict in Ossetia is not a local brawl in some obscure corner of Europe. It's an explosion of one of several time-delayed mines that remain since the collapse of the Soviet Union. There are quite a few places like South Ossetia, where most residents oppose their new governments: Georgian Abkhazia, self-proclaimed Transnistria, the potentially explosive Crimea and the always-restless Russian North Caucasus.


Politicians in both Moscow and the West like tinkering with these mines, using them against one another, and over recent years have done little to disarm them. The drama, which began yesterday in the Caucasus, shows how dangerous these games are - and that the time has come to stop them.


For the last decade and a half while war raged in the Balkans, Russia invariably supported Serbia in its fight to maintain Greater Yugoslavia, defending the principle of state supremacy over the will of national minorities. Meanwhile, the West defended the rights of minorities to self-determination, both in the Balkans and when criticizing Moscow for crushing the Chechen uprising. 




When the achievement of Kosovo independence put an end to the Balkan conflict, Moscow and the West changed roles. Now it's Russia which advocates the right to self-determination for the Georgian minorities. "We are the guarantor of the interests of the peoples of the Caucasus," President Medvedev said yesterday. Just like NATO did recently when its defended Kosovar Albanians against Serbia, Moscow has interfered militarily against Georgia in defense of the Ossetians. Meanwhile the West - like Russia did when it backed Serbia just a few years ago - now defends Georgia's right to maintain its territorial integrity.


An injured Georgian woman in the town of Gori cries for help.

A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in

the Georgian town and killed at least five people, Aug. 9.



This morally dubious game being played on both sides could inflame additional conflicts and end badly: For Russia - in the Caucasus; for the West - it may destabilize Ukraine, where Crimea [where Russia's Black Sea Fleet is located] is as hostile to their country’s government as the South Ossettians are to theirs. In Crimea [Ukraine] as in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russians are in the majority. Kiev is aware of this, which is why yesterday it was the first capital to appeal to both sides for an immediate ceasefire.


A Georgian man next to the corpse of a relative, in Gori, Aug. 9.



If the clash in Ossetia can be stopped quickly, Russia and the West will have to decide on the next difficult step: an unpleasant conversation about what rules should be applied when resolving similar conflicts. But is such a conversation, after the experience in the Balkans, still possible?






Rceczpospolita, Poland

Banish All 'Magical Thinking' Regarding the Russian Bear



Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

'Enormous Error' of President Bush's 'Georgian Protege'



Cotidianul, Romania

Georgia Can 'Kiss NATO Goodbye'



Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

Before Georgia - Its Europe that Needs Mediation



Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

Georgia: The Proxy War that Could Go Global



Rue 89, France

East Europe Best Not Depend on 'Obsolete' NATO



Liberation, France

The Russian President 'Dictates His Peace' to Hapless Europe



Le Figaro, France

In South Ossetia, 'Kosovo Backfires'



Le Figaro, France

Between America and Russia, the E.U. is On the Front Line



Le Figaro, France

War in the Caucasus: Georgia 'Doesn’t Stand a Chance'



Kommersant, Russia

The Kremlin Offers 'an Ultimatum' to America




































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US August 10, 4:35pm]