Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.
Virtually everyone is wrong.
What I’ve had trouble understanding is why so many people seem to be finding it so difficult to believe that Russia could be anything other than the peacemaker they claim to be.
If the US sent troops into, say, Iranian Kurdistan to “keep the peace” after a group of Kurdish separatists started shooting, how many would perceive the Americans as peace keepers striving for the status quo? No one would, regardless of the truth. And they’d have a pretty good reason not to. Yet the Russians sure seem to be getting the benefit of the doubt in a lot of circles.
It must be because Russia lacks the empire-building history of the United States. That’s the ticket.