However, that lack of recognition of South Ossetia as a country means that the Georgians—however foolish you may think that they were to do so—were perfectly entitled to send troops to quell what they saw as a rebellion in Tskhinvali. It is an internal matter for the Georgian authorities and no other country has any legal right or mandate to interfere in that process (other than if it is determined that there was a genocide occurring, of which there has not even been a suggestion). As such, Russia has no legal right to enter South Ossetia and it has no legal right to attack Georgian troops in South Ossetia.
Russia certainly has no legal right to move beyond South Ossetia and into central Georgia, as they are doing. Let us make no mistake: this is quite clearly an illegal invasion and the West is going to sit by and let it happen.
Britain and the US, the only two countries who would even consider countering Russia's aggression, are in no position to do anything other than bluster: our troops are tied up in other theatres and, let's face it, in situations which would entitle Russia to laugh in our faces were we to moan about them breaking international law.
But this is more about Russian dominance in the region.
If anyone out there really believed that Russia's attack was about South Ossetia or Kosovo, do get in touch with me. I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. Russia is sweeping into Georgia proper, despite pleas for a cease-fire, and we hear the same question as many heard before: where are our friends?
Get used to it - if Russia bullies anyone, the West keeps schtumm. Georgia will get no help any more than the Balts did, or Poland, or Hungary or Czechoslovakia. We shall see no large demonstrations against blood for oil (and believe me, oil comes into it). The UN will not condemn or do anything. How can it, with Russia on the Security Council?
Indeed. Many people are asking why we—that is, Britain—should get involved and they are quite right. There is no reason to get involved—unless, of course, we are really that worried about maintaining oil supplies. After all, if we invaded Iraq purely for the oil, as I hear so many people saying, then surely we can help defend another country in order to maintain the security of oil delivery?
But I guess that my desire to get involved is mainly an instinctive one: I don't like seeing countries like Georgia being pushed about by the Russians. It's also partly strategic: as Helen keeps on saying, if we keep appeasing Russia, she isn't going to stop with Georgia. And having a big aggressive neighbour with nuclear weaponry is not a good thing; sooner or later we are going to end up with a return to the Cold War situation, except that those countries who have been reinvaded will miss their own rule even more than they did before.
Fundamentally, it's about securing the safety of those who look to us to do so: call it a matter of honour, if you will. I am aware that that is not necessarily a good reason to get involved, but that doesn't stop me thinking, instinctively, that we should. Because, if we don't, we will pay for it later; although, admittedly, we won't pay nearly as much as the next states on Russia's shopping list..
Can we, at least, offer real help to those who are the next on that list, Ukraine and the Baltic states?
Don't hold your breath, Helen...