Two extracts from an article published in Aljazeera.
“Jon Sawyer, the director for the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting, said US politicians had encouraged their Georgian counterparts to think they had the backing of the US when Tbilisi decided to launch its attack on South Ossetia last week. “The US has for several years now mishandled the situation in Georgia,” he told Al Jazeera.
“The way that Mikheil Saakashvili has approached this [has been by] thinking that he could be an extension of the west, a partner of the United States.”
“In many ways we have given him cause for thinking that, with the many visits to the United States, the talk of Georgia as a beacon for democracy.”
Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, agrees that US encouragement may have made Saakashvili “miscalculate” and send Georgian troops into South Ossetia.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the old Soviet Union, said the US had made a “serious blunder” by allying itself so closely with Georgia.
“By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its ‘national interest,’ the United States made a serious blunder,” Gorbachev said in an opinion piece to be published in the Washington Post US newspaper on Tuesday.
Other analysts say that US diplomats may have underestimated the level of anger the US recognition of Kosovo created in Moscow, leaving it fearful that Georgia would assert itself further in South Ossetia.
“The Kremlin made abundantly clear that it would view Kosovo’s independence without Serbian consent and a UN Security Council mandate as a precedent for the two Georgian de facto independent enclaves,” Dimitri Simes, the president of the Nixon Centre, wrote in a post on the Washington Note blog.
“Furthermore, while president Saakashvili was making obvious his ambition to reconquer Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moscow was both publicly and privately warning that Georgia’s use of force to re-establish control of the two regions would meet a tough Russian reaction, including, if needed, air strikes against Georgia proper.”
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