Prime Minister Putin of Russia charged in a CNN interview that President Bush orchestrated the Georgia invasion of South Ossetia as part of a pollitical plan to assist the candidacy of John McCain in this fall’s election for the president. Putin argued there was no crisis until Bush encouraged President Saakhasvili to launch his ill fated invasion of South Ossetia. “The suspicion will arise that someone in teh United States created this conflict onn purpose to sitr up the situation and create an advantage for one of the cfandidates in the competitive race for the presidency of the United States. They needed a small victorious war.” Naturally, the White House denied any such plan and claimed the prime minister’s statement was “not rational.”
This blog has consistently rejected conspiracy theories because in the overhwhelming number of cases they lack historical vallidity. But, Putin is certainly raising an important question which must be addressed. By coincidence the Georgian action occurred when Putin was in Beijing at the Olympics thus removing from the scene of power in Russia the one man who would act decisively and quickly since few doubted President Medvedev would act in such a manner. There was no initial action by anyone in South Ossetia which would have necessitated an armed response. There were US military personnel on the scene. The unknown question is whether George Bush by not saying something or quietly encouraging action set the stage for the Georgia invasion.
It is ironic that George Bush is accusing another leader of lacking in rationality.