Both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama unreservedly supported the country of Georgia last fall in its war against Russia. Now a European commission is preparing to place most of the blame for starting the war on Georgia and its impulsive, authoritarian president, Mikhail Saakashvili.
The confidential investigative commission documents, which SPIEGEL has obtained, show that the task of assigning blame for the conflict has been as much of a challenge for the commission members as it has for the international community. However, a majority of members tend to arrive at the assessment that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili started the war by attacking South Ossetia on August 7, 2008. The facts assembled on Tagliavini’s desk refute Saakashvili’s claim that his country became the innocent victim of “Russian aggression” on that day.
In summarizing the military fiasco, commission member Christopher Langton, a retired British Army colonel, claims: “Georgia’s dream is shattered, but the country can only blame itself for that.”
Another commission member, Bruno Coppieter, a political scientist from Brussels, even speculates whether the Georgian government may have had outside help in its endeavor. “The support of Saakashvili by the West, especially military support,” Coppieter writes, “inadvertently promoted Georgia’s collision course.”
Letting Georgia into NATO would reduce U.S. security by effectively turning American decisions involving war and peace over to a small, irresponsible country half a world away. Not a good idea.