Strategic Forecasting yesterday:Telegraph.co.uk today
Strategically, we said Russia would respond to Kosovo’s independence, and they have. Russia is now declaring the Caucasus to be part of its sphere of influence. We have spoken for months of how Russia would find a window of opportunity to redefine the region. This is happening now.
All too familiar with the sight of Russian tanks, the Baltic countries are terrified of what they face in the long run, and they should be. This is the first major Russian intervention since the fall of the Soviet Union. Yes, Russia has been involved elsewhere. Yes, Russia has fought. But this is on a new order of confidence and indifference to general opinion. We will look at this as a defining moment.
The most important reaction will not be in the United States or Western Europe. It is the reaction in the former Soviet states that matters most right now. That is the real audience for this. Watch the reaction of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Balts. How will Russia’s moves affect them psychologically?
The Russians hold a trump card with the Americans: Iran. They can flood Iran with weapons at will. The main U.S. counter is in Ukraine and Central Asia, but is not nearly as painful.
Tactically, there is only one issue: Will the Russians attack Georgia on the ground? If they are going to, the Russians have likely made that decision days ago.
Focus on whether Russia invades Georgia proper. Then watch the former Soviet states. The United States and Germany are of secondary interest at this point.
Russian forces have invaded the Georgian province of Abkhazia hours after taking control of most of South Ossetia, said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Georgia reports new air attack near capital.
Russian military aircraft also raided the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday. An Associated Press reporter who visited Gori shortly after the bombing saw several apartment buildings in ruins, some still on fire, and scores of dead bodies and bloodied civilians. The elderly, women and children were among the victims.
It is the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won de facto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992.
The fighting threatens to ignite a wider war between Russia and Georgia, which accused Russia of bombing its towns, ports and air bases. Georgia, a former Soviet republic with ambitions of joining NATO, has asked the international community to help end what it called Russian aggression.
I'm sorry, my friends, most likely you're on your own. There's very little that we can do to help you. The Euros were decimated by last century's wars and the US is tapped out in South Asia and Iraq. There's no will in the West for resisting slow incremental bear attacks. Like any herd in the wild, an occasional sacrifice on the periphery is seen as the cost of survival for another day. Of course, those in closest proximity to the predator are certainly more anxious than those more removed from the dining...