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The Thinking of a Postmodern Warlord

The article of the president of the Danube Institute, John O'Sullivan in The Quadrant Online

In 2008 Vladimir Putin provoked a war with Georgia by giving its president, Mikhail Sakashvili, the poisoned choice either of losing two “breakaway” regions of his country to pro-Russian separatists and Russian “peacekeepers” illegally present there or of risking an attempt to recover them by military action. Sakashvili chose the second course—which was also a Russian trap—and was defeated. Russian troops advanced to within twenty-five kilometres of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, where they halted and have remained.

At that time I was the executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague which broadcast to twenty-two countries in twenty-eight languages. Our Georgian service was an especially influential one with first-class journalists in Prague and Tbilisi. I took the crisis as a chance to visit the Tbilisi bureau, and after a few days of meeting local politicians, diplomats, economists and journalists, I set down my thoughts in a commentary for RFE/RL’s English language service.

My first thoughts, slightly abridged here, were that the Russo-Georgian war was a very postmodern experience...

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