With billions of people distracted by the Olympics it was a perfect opportunity for the Russians to instigate one of the most significant geopolitical events seen thus far in the 21st century.
And I'm not the only one who thinks so.
It's obvious that the Russians don't want to let Georgia slip away. It's an extremely important conduit for the transportation of oil and gas to parts west of Russia. It's also critical to U.S. and NATO interests; 9/11 enhanced the importance of both the South Caucasus and Central Asia to American security. Flying rights through the Caucasus to Central Asia and Afghanistan are vital components of the ongoing military effort there by both U.S. and NATO forces.
And frustratingly, Georgia was making good progress as it was working to transition itself to an autonomous and democratic post-Soviet nation. That's looking very unlikely right now.
Talk about shades of Czechoslovakia 1968.
What's been equally interesting is Putin's role in the matter, as his voice appears to be trumping that of Dmitri A. Medvedev's. Looks like someone's having a hard time relinquishing power.