There is a point about the Russia-Georgia conflict that is huge, but which hasn’t gotten much coverage in our media. It’s the fact that leaders of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all went to Georgia to show solidarity with that country and its president. It seems the U.S. media are too preoccupied about with what’s happening in terms of the Bush administration and our own electoral politics in order to pay much attention to how this is going over among those countries.
I understand that Russia can’t be very happy with U.S. influence in the region. We need to be very careful and respectful of any such concerns. And I think we need to try to understand what Russian people like Alexander Sedov from Ekaterinburg are telling us. (He gives lots of helpful comments in my Kino Reticulator blog, and commented here on my previous post.) Kosovo changed things, and there is a feeling of solidarity with the people of South Ossetia.
But, unfortunately, Russia no longer has much of an independent press, which means we have to make allowances for their own information sources. (Not that our media are as independent-thinking as they should be. Witness the complaint with which I started this article.)
But the leaders of these other countries do not seem to think that the main issue is what Georgia has done to South Ossetia. They include slavic peoples, and they do not seem to think Kosovo and slavic solidarity trumps whatever else is happening there. They obviously view it as a plain threat to their own countries.
Like I say, what they have done is huge and should figure large in our understanding and response to the conflict.