Monday, August 25, 2008

How the West ignored the warning signs

President Mikhaeil Saakashvili has made a long televised speech in which he blames the Georgia crisis both on Russia and on the West's muted response to Russia's aggression. In his comments, he notes:

“I suppose that Russia started thinking about the military intervention in Georgia sometime in 2007,” he said. “[In July, 2007] Russia announced about pulling out from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty limiting military forces in [Europe] and in Caucasus.”

Up to 3,000 Russian armored vehicles of various types rolled into Georgia, he said.

“We had only 200 tanks, because we had no right to have more according to the treaty; Russia brushed off its commitments by withdrawing from the treaty,” Saakashvili said.

He then once again criticized “western partners” for not paying enough attention to this move by Russia. 

The President is obviously right, as observers at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were pointing out even back in April 2007 that Putin's threat - later enacted - to suspend compliance with the amended 1999 CFE Treaty was obviously aimed against Georgia. Yet no action was taken by either the United States or European powers at the time.
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