NY _Times_ reports: “Russia Orders Halt in Georgia as Fighting Continues”

MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia announced Tuesday that he had ordered a halt to his country’s military operation in Georgia, although he did not say that troops were pulling out and he insisted that Russian forces were still authorized to fire on enemies in South Ossetia.

I happily report this, having begun to fear that Russia’s initially justified(-ish) military operations, brought on by outrageous actions ordered by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, had quickly morphed into an attempt to oust the democratically elected, “pro-Western” (quasi-)tyrant. I, truly, hope that Medvedev’s call for a cessation of operations soon extends to an end to the authorization of firing (non-defensively) on enemies; whether a withdrawal is yet appropriate, I cannot say, although, I believe, troops should remain until the Georgian government can provide substantial evidence not only that it stands by its call for a cease-fire, but, also, that Saakashvili intends to terminate his terrorization of the South Ossetians.

James offers his thoughts on the matter here.

The front page of this morning’s Washington Post reports (prior, of course, to Medvedev’s order) that “Bush Question’s Moscow’s Motives”:

President Bush said yesterday that Russia’s military attacks in Georgia may be designed to unseat the pro-U.S. government there, a move he warned would represent a “dramatic and brutal escalation” of a conflict that American officials have begun to describe as a return to Cold War-style aggression.

Doesn’t rhetoric like this warm you to the cockles of your heart? When President Bush does it, despite the lack or any true national interest, it’s liberation. The Russians, in contradistinction, engage in Cold War-level aggression when acting within their “sphere of influence” and in matters directly in their interest.

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