The Russian-Georgian War: A Challenge for the U.S. and the World
Recorded on August 18, 2008
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
As the Olympic Games opened, the tragic and ominous conflict
between Georgia and Russia erupted as well. On Thursday of last
week, South Ossetian separatists, supported by Moscow, escalated
their machine gun and mortar fire attacks against neighboring
Georgian villages. On August 7 and 8, Georgia attacked the
separatist capital Tskhinvali with artillery to suppress fire.
Tskhinvali suffered severe damage, thus providing the pretext for
Moscow's long-planned invasion of Georgia.
Russia's goals for the war with Georgia are far-reaching and
include the termination of Georgian sovereignty in South Ossetia
and Abkhazia; "regime change" by bringing down President Mikheil
Saakashvili and installing a more pro-Russian leadership in
Tbilisi; preventing Georgia from joining NATO and sending a strong
message to Ukraine that its insistence on NATO membership may lead
to war and/or its dismemberment; shifting control of the Caucasus,
and especially over strategic energy pipelines; and recreating a
19th-century-style sphere of influence in the former Soviet
What steps can the United States and its European allies take to
immediately stop Russia's aggression and restore Georgia's
territorial integrity? What roles can international organizations
such as the EU, the OSCE, PACE and the UN play in this conflict?
What is at stake for Georgia and the West in this conflict? What is
at stake for Russia? What does this conflict tell us about Russia's
trajectory and Georgia's and Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration?
Lastly, what are the implications to US policy?