Georgia's president said Friday that his country is under attack by Russian tanks and warplanes, and he accused Russia of targeting civilians as tensions over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia appeared to boil over into full-blown conflict. "All day today, they've been bombing Georgia from numerous warplanes and specifically targeting (the) civilian population, and we have scores of wounded and dead among (the) civilian population all around the country," President Mikhail Saakashvili told CNN in an exclusive interview.
Please share interesting links to analyses in the mainstream media and blogosphere or write your own analyses on this escalating situation in the comment section. I am most interested in policy recommendations for the European and US governments.
Kyle Atwell has already asked the the big question "Will Europe and the US come to Georgia's aid?" in an Atlantic Review post in May 2008, when NATO membership for Georgia was discussed: Georgia Conflict: Should NATO Marry the Small Kid on the Playground?
UPDATE from Nanne Zwagerman: This AP analysis by Jim Heintz, on the Moscow newsdesk, is the best I've seen so far:
Behind the hostilities in South Ossetia are two nations that have long been spoiling for a fight, with Russia eager to show it's boss in the region and U.S.-backed Georgia determined to prove it can stand up to its huge neighbor. With Vladimir Putin in Beijing for the Olympic opening ceremony and the world's attention fixed on China, Georgia may have been betting it could pounce on an opportunity to quickly wrest control of its breakaway province. But the gamble may backfire: Washington hasn't endorsed Georgia's power play, and Moscow's counteroffensive has brought the two sides into a fight it will be hard for Georgia, a former Soviet state, to win.
My best guess would be that Russia will not go far beyond South Ossetia and will then only escalate further when Georgia launches a counterattack. This is looking more and more like a major miscalculation by Saakashvili.