the War in Ossetia and Georgia
Russian troops crossing the Russian-Georgian border.
"Truth is the first casualty of war," as is always said about now, because that statement is almost always right. And the second casualty is surely civilized restraint. Wars are easy to start, hard to contain, let alone end.
Right now, the surprising events in South Ossetia and Georgia represent a clash of information and interpretations. This is getting sorted out, but slowly. However, the events themselves are moving with agonizing speed.
For a couple of years now Discovery Institute's Russia Blog has been almost unique in representing otherwise ignored news about Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Often we provide access to news about business, culture and social developments that are occurring in a region that the West--including the USA--has tended to neglect since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now we are faced with a war in Georgia that is as big a surprise to most people (diplomats, too, it appears) as it is an obvious catastrophe for the peoples involved and a historic setback for Russian/Western relations. The complications for other regions will soon develop.
A convoy of Georgian soldiers and armored vehicles
The most we can hope for would seem to be an immediate cooling-off period. After that must come some sober investigation of how things got out of hand. Then how to find a way ahead.
Our first task at Russia Blog has been to try to get out facts and responsible opinions, letting readers sort them out. We do not want to promote some of the incendiary options being proposed and don't want to give them space. Our second task is to help air alternatives that stand some prospect of establishing peace. In this case, people who think the solutions are simple probably don't understand the situation.
Bruce Chapman is President of Discovery Institute. Mr. Chapman served as a Director of the United States Census Bureau, as a Deputy Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, as a Director of White House Office of Planning and Evaluation. In 1985 he was appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna, Austria, serving through 1988. He received the State Department's Superior Honor Award. His diverse responsibilities included such subject areas as nuclear proliferation, refugees, economic development, and narcotics control.