Michael Phelps has won yet another gold medal. He broke another world record. He and his team, by a virtual millisecond, pounced on the nasty French who had vowed to “smash” the Americans, and made away with the gold. Triumph. All American gold medalists on the dais with the national anthem blaring.
Cut to a half world away where a different kind of smashing was taking place. In Georgia –not the US state, for the geographically-impaired— a former Soviet republic a fierce air, ground and sea war was being waged at the hands of a fierce and angry bear, the Russians. Hey, wait, isn’t the purpose behind the Olympics to avoid armed conflict between nations? Let’s take our battles on to the soccer or track field, and all that. Well, that longstanding belief didn’t seem to faze Moscow. Nor Georgia, for that matter, because while all the hoopla in Beijing was getting underway last weekend, it was being pummeled mercilessly in what may be considered the opening salvo in the Second Cold War.
According to the latest developments, the 5-day conflict appears to have ended, with the typical uncertainty that surrounds these kinds of skirmishes. A diplomatic team composed of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and EU officials have been in Georgia since last weekend and then in Moscow to try to bring about a diplomatic solution as soon as possible. Overnight, French President Nicolas Sarkozy made an emergency visit to Moscow to personally persuade Russian leaders to have a ceasefire and end what has been an attack that has killed probably 2000 people already –although even that figure is almost impossible to confirm. This morning, Moscow announced a Read the rest of this entry »