Missiles Over Tskhinvali

Last summer, Russia and Georgia came to blows. Tbilisi’s pro-American president believed NATO would protect him in a fight with the big, bad bear.

Issue: May-June 2010

Ronald D. Asmus, A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 272 pp., $27.00.


[amazon 0230617735 full] AT 8 PM on March 13, a leading television channel in Georgia sent the country back to war. The half-hour broadcast on pro-government Imedi TV unveiled a terrifying scenario for its viewers: Russian tanks were rolling toward the capital, Tbilisi, aiming to complete the unfinished business of August 2008, when Moscow brought Georgia to its knees in a conflict over the breakaway province of South Ossetia; President Mikheil Saakashvili had either fled or been killed; a "people's government" loyal to Moscow was now in charge, led by two former Georgian officials who had recently crossed over to the opposition; and three army battalions had joined the Russians.

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