Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why Did Georgia Attack South Ossetia? Redux

As always Thanksgiving and Advent have stressed my organizational skills, but I can now return to some issues that have been wanting to address.

 The first of them is the still murky origin of the Georgia's attack on South Georgia.  Reports that have come out since my original post on this subject have not yet fully disabused me of my original hypothesis that Georgia had acted as they did based on information leaked to them that suggested Russia would acquiesce.  Still, it does seem clear that the Georgians expected more concrete support from NATO than they got.  Moreover, the Pentagon's assessment of the Georgian military, which the New York Times reported on in its 18 December edition, casts doubt on its ability to assess and act deliberatively:
Georgia's armed forces, the report said are highly centralized, prone to impulsive rather than deliberative decision making, undermined by unclear lines of command and led by senior officials selected for personal relationships rather than professional qualifications. 
That does not come as a surprise, as I suggested originally a more deliberative command would have sought to avoid war at all costs.  Moreover it suggests a command that could easily fall into the trap of group think, whether that was assuming the rest of the world would come to Georgia's aid or the wishful thinking that Putin was secretly prepared to let Georgia reassert control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  

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