State of the Union

Friday, August 22, 2008


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is an American-educated Bush Administration protégé. He has served as a compelling mouthpiece for his country in press coverage of the current conflict. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker and former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post gives his analysis of the Russia/Georgia clash.

Comments [3]

Smita Patel from California

I'm listening to this report and hearing you refer to South "Oh-see-sha"

Everyone else has been calling it South "O-set-tia"

Which is it? And why aren't we more careful about how we pronounce foreign names?

Aug. 24 2008 05:44 PM
Valerie from New York

David Remnick made a stunning omission discussing press coverage of the events in Georgia. There is a difference between entering a secessionist territory within your own national borders (as Georgia did), and invading a foreign sovereign country, occupying and destroying large portions of its cities and forests (as Russia did in Georgia). Press coverage of Georgia attributed less culpability to Georgia's attempt (however ill-advised) to reassert control over its own land of S. Ossetia than to Russia's vengeful excesses in Georgia far beyond S. Ossetia. Debunking hawkish comparisons of Putin to Hitler in 1938-39, Mr. Remnick neglected the exact analogies of history: (1) Russia's 2 brutal military campaigns in Chechnya, regaining control over its own secessionist "autonomous" republic, flattening the Chechen capital and many of its people; and (2) the USSR invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In Georgia, Russia also violated the boundaries of another territory where Russia had undertaken a "peacekeeping" role -- Abkhazia. On August 8, there was peace in Abkhazia; instead of keeping the peace, Russia itself violated the agreement it was to safeguard, and incited the Abkhazians to join them in breaking it (they obliged).

Aug. 24 2008 01:27 PM
Jonathan Kulick from Tbilisi, Georgia

Western media made a distinction between Georgia and Russia because *there is* a distinction. Why is evenhandedness in every circumstance the standard, when the facts dictate otherwise? That Georgia's leadership is more western-media friendly than Russia's is neither incidental nor calculated--it reflects the fact that Georgia is a more open, western society than Russia.

But Remnick is right that the reporting was much better than the commentary. 90% of columnists and editorialists (whichever side they took) betrayed an almost-total ignorance of the issues at hand.

Aug. 23 2008 04:35 AM

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