By Ronald Asmus
The short struggle among Russia and Georgia in August 2008 appeared to many like an unforeseen shot instantly that used to be long past as speedy because it got here. Former Assistant Deputy Secretary of nation Ronald Asmus contends that it was once a clash that used to be ready and deliberate for a while by way of Moscow, a part of a broader technique to ship a message to the United States: that Russia goes to flex its muscle in the twenty-first century. a bit warfare that Shook the realm is an engaging examine the breakdown of relatives among Russia and the West, the decay and decline of the Western Alliance itself, and the destiny of jap Europe in a time of economic crisis.
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Additional resources for A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West
It was something of a ritual for there to be final exchanges of artillery fire between South Ossetian and Georgian forces in late July or early August before the summer break settled in. The normal pattern during the previous summers had been that the South Ossetians would start shelling, the Georgians would retaliate, and then, after a day or two of exchanges, one side, usually but not always the Georgian, would back down. One exception had been in 2004, when the Georgian side had in fact escalated and fought back, only to suffer significant casualties.
There was little doubt in his mind— based on the intelligence he had on that fateful evening as well as his years of dealing with Moscow—that Russia was invading his country. Rather than run the risk that the Russians and their separatist allies would overrun Georgian villages and outposts under his control and possibly march on Tbilisi, Saakashvili opted to preempt what he thought was Russia’s impending move. He believed his oath as president to defend his citizens and his country’s territorial integrity required him to do nothing less.
As of December 2008, the investigative committee of the Russian Federation’s Prosecutor’s Office listed some 162 dead for South Ossetia as a whole. The Russian NGO Memorial has come up with a comparable figure but has emphasized that there is no credible or comprehensive list available. The South Ossetians claim that over 350 of their citizens died, but that list does not differentiate between combatants and civilians, and some persons on the list appear to have died of other 01 asmus text:Layout 1 42 9/8/09 11:45 AM Page 42 A LITTLE WAR THAT SHOOK THE WORLD causes or at other times.