Tuesday, August 12, 2008

who to believe?

It's been very difficult to get a handle on what's going on in South Ossetia, just because Russia and Georgia are both declaring completely different things. The only reliable source of information, the United Nations peace observers, are only in Abkhazia, from which they reported the arrival of Russian peacekeeprs and non-peacekeeping troops and the fact that the Abkhazians forced them to leave the disputed upper Kodori Gorge.

As for Georgia and Russia, they both accuse each other of starting the conflict, they both accuse each other of ethnic cleansing, and the only thing they agree on is that Georgia was trying to take South Ossetia and Abkhazia back. For the first 24 hours of the conflict or so, Russia appeared to be merely preventing this from happening, which I'm not at all convinced was the wrong thing to do. After that, it became clear that the Russians sought to humiliate their Georgian rival.

What is clear early on is that the French deserve a lot of credit for really weighing in and helping to defuse this, at least temporarily. It seems the US has also done well during the conflict, taking a firm line in defense of Georgia's sovereignty while preventing this from escalating into a great power war. What the US did leading up to the conflict, though, is open to criticism.

"Headline News," meanwhile, has decided that rather than wade into the difficulties of covering this war, it would be better to broadcast the results of a meeting between the grandparents of some missing girl named "Caylee" with a psychic detective.

No, I'm not kidding, a psychic detective.


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