There are two things to say about the fighting in Georgia. First, the Georgians had every right to try and take control of South Ossetia – it is part of their country and there is no doubt that the Russian-backed separatists had been acting in a highly provocative fashion.
But second – the Georgians have made a terrible mistake. In a post on May 16th, I argued that Georgian threats to shoot down Russian planes buzzing their airspace would be self-defeating, giving Russia an “excuse to launch military operations against Georgia”. Attacking South Ossetia was an even worse error. By becoming (apparently), the first to shed blood the Georgians lost the moral high ground and gave Russia the causus belli it sought. Read more