On Friday I received a call from a friend informing me of an event that seemed to have escaped the main stream news under seemingly more pressing stories about John Edward’s affair and the Olympic games. Major fighting has broken out between Russia and Georgia. The main stream media caught up by the end of the weekend. Wes Burney, a History Graduate who has been following the story for some time, gives us a play-by-play via his twitter feed

Just to catch everyone up: Georgia is a small poor nation in the Caucausas mountains and has been a part of the Russian Empire off and on. Stalin was from Georgia, I believe. Russia has 3 traditional spheres of influence:</p>

  1. The former Soviet Republics, obviously including Georgia
  2. Russia believes it is the protector of the Slavs (World War I)

  3. Russia also protects Eastern Orthodox worshipers

Kosovo, a Muslim nation, split off from Serbia, a Slavic Orthodox nation. Russia was mad. There are 2 Slavic breakaway republics in Georgia: South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia is supporting South Ossetian independence, which prima facie would seem to be a good thing according to Wilsonian principles.

However, the fear in the west is that South Ossetia would become at best a Russian puppet or perhaps even annexed outright. And South Ossetia contains a major natural gas pipeline to Europe.

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I’d like to thank Wes for this brief recap. Keep in mind, he typed all of that from a cell phone.