American military leaders are still reviewing the implication to our security of recent actions on the part of the government of Georgia. President Saakashvili took an enormous gamble when he deliberately provoked Russia by invading South Ossetia. The US military would have confronted a serious problem if Georgia was actually a member of NATO because Article 5 of the NATO treaty says “an armed attack against one or more of them(members).. shall be considered an attack against them all.” It is quite clear to any sane person, the American military was not ready, prepared or capable of undertaking a war in Georgia against a Russian army. Many NATO members place “caveats” on how their armed forces could be used in a war which most probably would have resulted in the case of Georgia of America being placed in the position of carrying the burden of fighting. War is not an enthusiastic idea in nations like Germany or France or Italy.
At the heart of the Georgia episode are many unanswered questions. Why did the Georgia leader expect the United States would support his ill timed adventure into war? Did he misinterpret what President Bush told him? Or, did Bush actually tell him something about American support for a war in South Ossetia? Most probably we will not know the answer to these questions unless a Democrat is elected president.