Saturday, August 09, 2008
VAZIANI, Georgia - One thousand U.S. troops began a military training exercise in Georgia on Tuesday against a backdrop of growing friction between Georgia and neighboring Russia.
Officials said the exercise, called "Immediate Response 2008," had been planned for months and was not linked to a stand-off between Moscow and Tbilisi....
The two-week exercise was taking place at the Vaziani military base near the capital Tbilisi.....
Georgia and the Pentagon cooperate closely.....
I really hope the US troops, excepting observers & advisers left at the end of those 2 weeks. Part of the justification Russia gave for intervening was that Russian peacekeepers there officially had been killed. Let us hope this does not, in turn, happen to US troops.
This makes it virtually certain the US knew about this in advance. Somebody on the BBC news yesterday intelligently pointed out that this attack has been timed to coincide with the Russian leadership being out of the country in Beijing. If they had reacted slowly Russia might have been faced with a fait accompli.
We can already see the media campaign growing. This morning the BBC said that "it was impossible to tell who fired the first shot". This is a complete & deliberate lie. Whether justified or not, the first shooting was done by the Georgians shelling the Ossetian town (it hardly justifies being called a capital).
There is a very real danger, as with Fort Sumter, Sarajevo in 1914 or the US order to British troops in Kosovo to attack Russian soldiers who had "liberated" the airport, of escalation. Fortunately in the 3rd instance the British officer in command refused to do so. Is Soputh Ossetia worth the bones of an American or British grenadier.
My feeling - no.
Hard cheese to be a Georgian - but neither the UK nor the US have any compelling reason to intervene.
Well, no, obviously. But neither were Vietnam or Iraq. South Korea, I am undecided.