(Hat Tip: Naomi)
The Russia - Georgia conflict clarified, from the Washington Post:
The Georgian leadership took steps, sometimes against the advice of its allies, sometimes without telling them, that accelerated the advance to a war in which Georgia could never prevail, according to a U.S. account. But the key question -- who finally triggered full conflict? -- remains in dispute. The Georgians said they staged their offensive only after Russian troops began streaming into South Ossetia and the Russians saying they advanced only after the Georgians began attacking South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali.
The Kremlin, long angry over Georgia's close ties with the United States and Western Europe, may have been itching for a fight, as Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has long insisted. If so, Saakashvili facilitated the lopsided matchup. Some Western officials say that although he faced clear provocations, he was reckless. "If it was a trap, and there's good reason to think it was, he walked right into it," one Western diplomat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
In Georgia, popular anger against Russia remains high, and Saakashvili has yet to be called to account for the decision to assault Tskhinvali, a small city in which thousands of civilians were forced into their cellars by shelling.
Russian officials say 2,000 people died in Tskhinvali. That figure has been described as inflated by human rights groups. But there unquestionably was a large toll of civilian deaths and injuries, which has outraged Russia and shocked Georgia's Western allies.
(Cross-posted at SnappedShot.com)