Saakashvili's decision to send tanks into South Ossetia gave Russia the trigger that it may have wanted to send in more of its own troops and weapon systems. Russia was ready. Putin, now prime minister of Russia but still the center of power, was relaxing and chatting with George W. Bush in the bird's nest Olympic stadium in Beijing looking quite in control and confident.
It is possible that Condoleezza Rice's July 10th visit to Tbilisi and joint press conference with Saakashvili was interpreted by him that American power and resolve were firmly behind Georgia and its intention to reassert control over the autonomous provinces. The Georgian president miscalculated about American power in the world today and our resolve to take on Russia directly. . .
While the seeds of this conflict between Georgia and Russia had been planted long ago, the U.S. helped engineer events that are now undermining its own interests and the global perception of American power.
When the media report on what drove this "war", commentators should look to Kosovo as well as Saakashvili's own recklessness and overconfidence to further understand the reasons why tanks from both sides rolled into South Ossetia.
If this allegation is correct, "reckless and overconfident" are not the words to describe Saakashvili. For the leader of a former Soviet Republic to imagine the US would support his new nation in a military confrontation with Russia strikes me as nothing short of delusional.