Small Wars Have a Nasty Habit of Getting Bigger - The Times editorial
A small war in the Caucacus would not normally be a cause of growing international concern. The region is only too familiar with conflict and the West would at this stage be more involved in discussing humanitarian aid to the innocent victims of old tribal feuds. But the fact that George W Bush’s picture is widely displayed across Georgia while the face of Vladimir Putin is on equal show in the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia suggests this conflict is not just another minor ethnic squabble and that it may not stay local for too long. The danger in any war on the border of a great power is that others begin to meddle and before anyone can find Tskhinvali, the capital, on the map we have a full-blown crisis. History is full of seemingly minor events - Kosovo and the Falklands to name two recent examples - leading to international showdowns. It is no secret that the recently resurgent Russia has long resented Georgia’s breakaway from the Soviet Union and its blandishments to the West. Its latest bid to join NATO and the European Union is seen in Moscow as a calculated provocation.