Radio Free Europe reports that Georgian officials says that Obama told Medvedev and Putin that the US "would not stand aside" if Russia marched in again. At first glance, this seems odd. Obama stumbled during the presidential campaign last year because of his cautious reaction to Russia’s move and it would be unusual for him to be sounding more bellicose in office than he was on the campaign trail. Also, Obama’s diplomacy so far has been thoroughly realist — it would be more in keeping with his administration’s modus operandi, for it to be looking for some grand bargain with Russia.
But there are some intriguing bits of supporting evidence for the Georgian claim. First, Joe Biden’s recent interview with the WSJ where he made clear that the Russian leadership needed to adapt to the country’s diminished power suggested that Washington was not scared of trying to put Moscow in its place. Second, the Russians are accusing the US of re-arming Georgia, something that suggests some concern on their part about US policy.
With the anniversary of the Russian invasion on Friday, expect sbare-rattling from both sides over the next few days.
Hat Tip: TNR.