But Seriously, Folks…

The real news of the day is Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Georgia gained independence with the collapse of the Russian Empire, and has a pro-western government that wants to join NATO. But Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is reluctant to let its former vassal states go.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a senior Executive Branch official. Looking past the issue of Islamic terrorism, he identified Russia’s relations with the former members of its empire as a prime potential source of trouble for years to come. Georgia was at the top of that list.

The province of South Ossetia is pro-Russian and has tried to break away from Georgian control on at least a de facto basis. Georgia is now trying to re-assert control over South Ossetia, and Russian troops crossed the border, ostensibly–as Pravda reported–to:

…help protect Russian peacekeepers and local residents in South Ossetia. Most of South Ossetia’s residents have Russian citizenship.

One is almost tempted to call them Sudeten-Russians. There have been casualties on both sides, and Georgia claims that Russian planes have bombed Georgian towns, but I haven’t seen reports of major ground combat yet. This AP report is hot off the presses. BBC Europe’s report is here.

In this photo from the Russian press, Russian tanks roll into South Ossetia:

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That’s about all one can say for now. Except that, contrary to premature reports, history hasn’t ended quite yet.

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