But the Emperor's Georgian proxies just had to start a war.
Reading the wire dispatches (like this one here, or here), I can't help but be transported back to August 1995.
After four years of buildup, with the overt involvement of Washington, the Croatian government launched a massive military operation against the Serb-populated areas that seceded from it in 1991. Attacked from all sides, outnumbered and outgunned, the Serbs were wiped out. The government in Belgrade, supposed to be the guarantor of the truce, stood by and did absolutely nothing. Many Serbians actually groused about "those damned refugees" ruining their summer vacations. Having thus "reintegrated" the territories it claimed, sans the population, Croatia has been celebrating the largest single act of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans as "Homeland Thanksgiving Day" ever since.
But what does any of this have to do with the homeland of Stalin? Maybe everything. The regime of Michael Saakashvili is an American client, much more so than Franjo Tudjman's ever was. Saakashvili himself spent a long time in the US, and was installed in power by a US-organized "Rose revolution" in 2003 (using the same template that was tested in 2000 in Serbia and later applied in Ukraine).
Here's the trouble: two regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, refuse to be ruled by Tbilisi. Their inhabitants are not ethnic Georgians. Russian troops have been stationed in both regions. Saakashvili's regime views this as "Russian aggression" - but of course, the Abkhaz and the Ossetians see the Russians as the only thing between them and the kind of "reintegration" that Croats imposed on the Krajina Serbs in 1995.
Saakashvili may think what worked for Franjo Tudjman in 1995 could work for him. After all, he serves the same master. Speculation by Reuters suggests that the regime in Tbilisi is hoping to "reintegrate" Abkhazia before the Russians respond. Except that Dmitry Medvedev is not Slobodan Milosevic, and Russia of 2008 is not Serbia of 1995.
Reuters now quotes Saakashvili begging for American help:
"This was a very blunt Russian aggression. ... We are right now suffering because we want to be free and we want to be a multiethnic democracy," Saakashvili said in the interview.
Saakashvili, whose country is pushing to join NATO, said the conflict "is not about Georgia anymore. It's about America, its values."
"I ... thought that America stands up for those freedom-loving nations and supports them. That's what America is all about. That's why we look with hope at every American," the U.S.-educated president said.