In short, it looks more and more as though Georgia has fallen in to its enemies' trap. The script went like this: first mount unbearable provocations, then wait for a response, and finally reply with overwhelming military force and diplomatic humiliation. The idea that Georgia sought this war is nonsense. Recovering control of South Ossetia from its Russian-backed rulers has been a top priority for the Georgian authorities for years. But nobody thought it would come by military means. The Georgian strategy had been to use soft power, underlining its prosperity and the corruption-
busting successes of Mr Saakashvili's rule. That contrasted sharply with the isolation and cronyism of South Ossetia, which survives only on smuggling and Russian subsidies.
Clearly Lucas feels Georgia is defiantly not to blame.
Here is an interesting article posted on the Other Russia website (Other Russia is an opposition party to Putin's United Russia), which takes the stance that Georgia was simply mimicking Russian geopolitical tactics and takes a critical stance towards both parties.
The Georgians also talk about restoring Constitutional order. It was precisely this kind of restoration that Mikhail Saakashvili was preparing for since his first day of coming to power – because he desperately wants to resemble Vladimir Putin. And if anyone can blame the Georgian president for this, it’s his Western friends. But we of the former Soviet Union know: the society here adores the victor with his bloody saber bared. Experienced diplomats, devoting their lives to the negotiation process are out of favor here.
Interesting, though I have a feeling it's a tad exaggerated. Russian leadership for years has had a goal of attaining a "greater Russia" type rule along its borders, with intimidation and outright political subversion (e.g. Ukraine). Georgia? Not so much.
So the question is, who to blame? I know I want to paint Russia as being an aggressor here, though I also don’t want to gloss over anything the Georgian side may have done. Yet again, Russia is an emerging autocratic state and Georgia a developing democracy, should the difference matter? I don’t know.
Make your own conclusions.
Update 1: Another Reuters segment.
Marko Attila Hoare of the Greater Surbiton gives his thoughts on the conflict. He rightfully exposes the menacing involvement of Russia as of late in the region, how these enclaves are not like Kosovo and also states why the West should support Georgia.
Almost exactly thirteen years after Croatia, with its ‘Operation Storm’, successfully liberated itself from Serbian imperialist occupation, Georgia has attempted an ‘Operation Storm’ of its own. Yet while Croatia was fortunate enough to be faced by a relatively weak oppressor, little Georgia must face the might of the world’s territorially largest country, and one of the world’s most powerful military machines. Although I have recently written here that military means are not a feasible way of reversing the Russian Anschluss with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and though I fear Tbilisi has been provoked into behaving rashly and entering a battle it cannot win, yet my solidarity is entirely with Georgia, her government and her people as they fight for their freedom.
Hoare seems to me to have the best analysis of the situation so far.