GORI, Georgia — Russian troops, in seeming violation of a cease-fire agreement set only on Tuesday, embarked Wednesday on what Georgian officials called a deliberate and systematic attempt to demolish what remains of the Georgian military. [Snip]The Russians have been working hard to induce the Georgians to attack South Ossetia so that they could justify counterattacking the Georgians. The Russians also know there will be a lot of international repercussions, so once committed, they want the greatest possible benefit.
The state news service Interfax quoted an analyst saying that, "Moscow will now be listened to and treated seriously. The West has … not listened to Russia over the past 15 years."
The essential purpose of this effort is for Russia to show those countries next to them, the "Near Abroad," that Russia is back with a vengeance. The talk among those "Near Abroad" countries that they were going to join NATO to protect themselves from "The Bear" angered "The Bear" and so the nearby countries that thought they could act without considering what Russian wants/demands had better think twice.
The purpose of the attack into Georgia was to greatly damage and embarrass Georgia, and to the extent possible, to eliminate the Georgian military as a credible force. The Russian military will stop attacking the Georgian military when there is no significant Georgian military left to attack.
The rest of the near abroad nations, particularly Ukraine, will be carefully absorbing this lesson, as well at the helplessness of the US and the passivity of European nations. The Bear is back, and the western nations that were talking such a great fight have faded when a real fight was necessary. Talk is cheap, and the Russians are not.
That's the lesson. And unlike the US in Iraq, the Russians have sent enough troops to make sure the lesson is learned.