Aug 20, 2008
In a NY Times op-ed, former Soviet leader and dismantler of the Soviet Union explains that Russia never wanted this conflict with Georgia.
"Russia did not want this crisis. The Russian leadership is in a strong enough position domestically; it did not need a little victorious war. Russia was dragged into the fray by the recklessness of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili. He would not have dared to attack without outside support. Once he did, Russia could not afford inaction."
He goes on, "Mr. Saakashvili had been lavished with praise for being a staunch American ally and a real democrat — and for helping out in Iraq. Now America’s friend has wrought disorder, and all of us — the Europeans and, most important, the region’s innocent civilians — must pick up the pieces."
And most importantly, he states, "Our two countries could develop a serious agenda for genuine, rather than token, cooperation. Many Americans, as well as Russians, understand the need for this. But is the same true of the political leaders?"
Thank you, Gorby, for recognizing that politicians, America and Russia, and Americans and Russians are all very separate things.