Lessons of the War in Georgia

[Jerusalem Post] Gerald Steinberg - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's strategy, which relied on wide international support for an embattled democracy and quick intervention by NATO, was never realistic. Vladimir Putin's resurgent Russia has been steadily eating into Georgian territory by supporting breakaway movements, and Saakashvili sought to reverse this process. He thought Georgia could make its move during the Beijing Olympics, when Putin would not want to be seen as a ruthless attacker. This was a foolish and costly mistake - Putin had no interest in protecting his image. At the same time, Washington is focused on nuclear threats from Iran and the ongoing war in Iraq. Both require some cooperation from Moscow. For Israel, the speed and brutality of the Russian attack on Georgia are another reminder that our survival in the Middle East requires a realistic assessment of the power balance in the region. In Lebanon and Gaza, the hope that European and UN forces will prevent Hizbullah and Hamas from acquiring and using weapons is dangerously naive. In the case of Iran's nuclear program, Israel's own power and ability to defend against and deter attacks remain the most effective forms of insurance. The writer is chairman of the Political Studies Department of Bar-Ilan University.

2008-08-13 08:00:00

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