Preparing a Pretext to Invade Georgia

This is from a new interview with David Satter on the International Affairs Forum:

The other thing that I heard, and that I think is credible, is that they need time to prepare a kind of pretext. It’s not a simple direct invasion of Georgia without any pretext like the one that Saakashvili so generously provided them for the first invasion. That would be difficult because not only would it cast doubt on the legitimacy of the second invasion, it would raise questions about the first one. Now, to prepare a real pretext for invading Georgia, you need to put some work in. For the first invasion, the preparations began months before the actual crossing of the border. It might be the same in this case. I think for the moment they don’t have the pretext that they need and I think that, more than anything else, is what is restraining them.

But who knows? A trap has been set. Obama at the end of the daywill probably not cancel the deployment in Eastern Europe. The Russianswill claim that this is an aggressive action and that all of Obama’stalk about a reset and his friendly gestures were just hot air and thatit just shows the duplicity of the United States. And the population,which has limited access now to free information because of the controlover TV and everything else, will buy it. So we could be setting thestage for an unpleasant confrontation. In that context, it would bemuch easier for them to invade Georgia. Much easier to say, ‘we have toact in our own defense because the West is turning against us’. So it’stoo early to be sanguine about the direction in which they are going.

All of this poses a threat not so much to the rest of the world asto Russia itself. Russia has very deep problems, and to solve thoseproblems it really needs decent values and democratic practices. Whatit has now is not going to do that. They have a leadership which comesfrom the KGB which is totally corrupt. So we can only hope that theRussian country, the Russian state, the Russian society will somehowfind a way to act in its own interest.