|The events in Georgia should give US all pause to remember similar times from the not so distant past. I believe a comparison with Modern day Russia of 2008 and the rise of Nazi Germany can't be helped. We see today a nearly perfect re-run of the events surrounding the 1938 destruction and occupation of Czechoslovakia in the lead up to WWII. Officially, Hitler used the pretense of ethnic Germans were being persecuted in those parts of the relatively new nation of Czechoslovakia. In fact these "persecutions" were ginned up with help of people inside these districts of CZ. Hitler was quoted as saying that "Czechoslovakia is a French aircraft carrier in the middle of Europe" (Craig,Germany,P.702/origins of war,Donald,p389). He only wanted to remove it as a set piece in his grander mission to conquer Europe.
France and Britain negotiated away the human rights of the Czech-Slovak peoples in the vain hopes of Hitler accepting that and going no further in his plans. What we call today "appeasement".
Putin/Russia today is using an identical set of complaints to advance their goals in Georgia. The recent invasion was hardly a suprise event to the Russians. They moved assets into place and set a trap for the Georgians. Some in the media and in Political/strategic debate have suggested the Georgians got what they had coming to them because they acted afirmatively in S.Ossetia there-by setting events in motion. My view of this is the Georgians had to make a move to assert their Sovereignty sooner than later. For them to wait would only have placed more of their territory (and people) in jeopardy.
I am certain the Georgians could have handled this better and much discussion of their actions in and around the last couple of weeks can be debated as effective or not. Indeed clearly the Georgians lost a war that they were not prepared to fight.
It seems to me however that the most important thing for the world to remember is we are at a cross roads with a very sophisticated enemy who wishes to rise again. The Russians lost the Cold War as the Germans lost the First World War. History's lesson here is quite compelling, if we allow this enemy to rise again the losses suffered in the next conflict will be a order of magnitude greater than the Cold War. The west must act in all means required (economic,diplomatic, & ultimately, military) to force Russia to live within it's recognized borders and any expansionism or renewed empire building will simply not be tolerated.