Friday evening, I submitted a blistering prose counterattack against what was set to be called the "hailstorm of shrillness" and "swooning gibberish" coming out of the anti-Russia lobby in the public prints.
The details of who did what to precipitate Russia's war against Georgia are not very important. Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia? Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.
Exactly what happened in South Ossetia last week is unclear. Each side will argue its own version. But we know, without doubt, that Georgia was responding to repeated provocative attacks by South Ossetian separatists controlled and funded by Moscow. This is a not a war Georgia wanted; it believed that it was slowly gaining ground in South Ossetia through a strategy of soft power.
Today, the Vladimir Putins and Hu Jintaos and Mahmoud Ahmadinejads of the world — to say nothing of their junior counterparts in places like Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma and North Korea — are no more likely than were Soviet leaders in 1924 to be swayed by "moral influence." Dictators aren't moved by the claims of justice unarmed; aggressors aren't intimidated by diplomacy absent the credible threat of force; fanatics
AND...I would be remiss not to link to the sober op-ed at the Christian Science Monitor penned by Georgetown Professor Charles King.