Will there or won’t there be another Russian attack on Georgia? Since I raised the issue in my Wall Street Journal op-ed a few days ago, a follow-up.
In a July 7 article on Grani.ru, Andrei Piontkovsky, one of the commentators who have warned most strongly about the possibility of a new war this summer, writes that he now believes the risk is considerably reduced.
Why? For one thing, Piontkovsky (not a big Obama fan) thinks “Obama has done what he could,” both by bringing up Georgia during his Moscow visit — apparently in rather firm tones — and by sending Vice President Biden to Tbilisi. (There’s a new function of the Veep role: a human shield!)
However, he believes the actions of another president — the president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan — may have been even more important.
On June 26, an amazing event happened in Yerevan. In the midst of the anti-Georgian bacchanal in all of the pro-Kremlin media, the president of Armenia, Russia’s only remaining ally not just in the Caucasus but in the entire post-Soviet space, solemnly and very publicly bestowed on Mikhail Saakasvili the highest Armenian state award – the Order of Honor.
Such things in the Caucasus are never accidental. Serzh Sargsyan, who is in many ways dependent on Moscow, would have never permitted himself to simply taunt the Kremlin. He would be risking too much for such a dubious pleasure. It was a well-thought-out demonstration, a deliberate attempt to stop the madmen in Russia’s political and military leadership who were preparing for a second Georgian war, which would have been devastating to the entire Caucasus and to Russia.
It seems to me that this act probably affected our wannabe geopolitical strategists more than any other argument. If they are losing even Armenia, what “zone of privileged interests” do they have left? As if on command, the active phase of psychological preparation for the war – the articles and interviews of the Dugins and the Dorenkos about the inevitability of a Georgian attack on Russia – came to a halt.
(By the way, the title of this post is an obscure pun.)