CONTAINING LINKS TO 1280 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     COMMENTS: Georgia on All Three Networksí Mind

The war in the Caucasus was the unanimous selection as Story of the Day. Russian troops consolidated their incursion into Georgia. The secessionist provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were under Moscow's control. Its navy is blockading Georgia's Black Sea ports and its army holds the city of Gori, closing the only east-west highway to Tbilisi and effectively dividing Georgia in half. All three network newscasts led with the war, even though NBC had sent its anchor Brian Williams to Beijing, where his topic was supposed to be the Olympic Games, a celebration of peace.

ABC's Clarissa Ward (embargoed link) filed from Gori where she found "panic and chaos" before the Russians moved in: "Convoy after convoy of Georgian troops poured out of the city shouting that the Russians were coming," to coin a phrase. NBC located Jim Maceda in Tbilisi, where he introduced Gori footage from Julian Manyon of NBC's British newsgathering partner ITN. "The Georgian government insists that its troops had not been humiliated," Manyon noted, "but the truth is that they and their equipment have not been able to stand up to Russian firepower." CBS had Richard Roth narrate war footage and cover the diplomatic response from London: "Diplomacy is the only weapon the West is using," he observed.

In a rare newsmaking achievement for the lame duck President, ABC assigned David Wright to file from the White House on George Bush's insistence that Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty be respected: "The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on." Wright called Georgia "a new friend and ally" of the United States, although he did not use the word literally since Georgia is only "hoping to join NATO" and has not done so. And then there is oil. It does have "one of the only pipelines from Asia to Europe that Russia does not control."

When it comes to what is at stake in the fighting, NBC's Jim Maceda, on the ground in Tbilisi, and CBS' Wyatt Andrews, talking to inside-the-Beltway foreign policy wonks, took opposite lines. Maceda judged that the conflict "started as a gamble" by Georgia's president, Mikheil Shaakasvili, a "darling of the West" when he moved quickly to take back control of South Ossetia. "The plan failed." Maceda consulted Russian analysts who concluded that Shaakasvili "made one big mistake, threatening Russia in its own backyard."

Now listen to CBS' Andrews: "None of the suffering here is about the enclave of Ossetia," he asserted. "This war is all about Russia and the message Russia is sending to the world." Andrews saw Moscow's incursion as the culmination of a four-year "nationalistic anti-Georgia propaganda campaign" by a "seething" Vladimir Putin to stymie plans to expand NATO right up to Russia's southern borders. That campaign was intensified by President Bush's visit to Georgia in 2005 when he offered a pledge of support--"The American people will stand with you"--and received "a hero's welcome." Now, despite that promise, "almost nothing now stands between the Russian Army and the Georgian capital of Tbilisi."


     READER COMMENTS BELOW:

There is another way of loknoig at this as well.While Georgia predictably has the support of the west, the facts on the ground are more complicated.a0 South Ossetia likes the incursion, since they have been at odds with Georgia (who represent a different ethic make up than does Ossetia), and have long been pro-Russian.It also very unlikely, very well impossible that we'll see NATO or UN peacekeepers in the region because for the Russians, the region around their borders is inviolate and sacrosant under the auspices of a Russian Monroe doctrine.a0 Only the U.S. could pull it off, but to what end?a0 The current geopolitical situation is like the gun fight at the end of the The Good, The Bad and The Ugly .a0 Getting embroiled with Russia allows China to pick us both off.a0 U. S. foreign policy, no matter what administration, is going to elect for stability for the foreseeable future.Frankly, I think the Ossetia adventure is only incidentally a bit of Russian regional adventurism.a0 The real foreign policy goals of the Russians are to signal their resurgence and the force of their national will.a0 Its a low risk means of telling the west, we're back, and we're bad
Hi katiee ;) This is levas from the other blog where people were arguing about conflict. I dont think starting a conflict was a good thing. And the reasons i think did not begin just here and now. These are because of interest of big countries. And it happened for me to be russian living in Lithuania. And as being Russian i all the time defend my identity, as do people of every nationality. I dont think georgians wanted to war, or anyone did. Or now to blame Russia because of agression, I think that US or other democrats push Russia as well as IRAN or other in to a corner, and then the reaction came. I agree that every nation must excercise its identity. And for this reason I think that US must respect as well the identities and interest who excercise other ideologies, and if other ideology doesnt necessary mean it is not democratic, if people are happy then it is democratic anyway, not necessary in American Style. So I think no matter the size countries should respect the interests of each other, the “Civilized” world should respect “uncivilized”(which is usually a matter of technological progress, but not civilization). Personally I do not want Georgia have conflict with Russia, because I like both, I like Russia standing on its feet but I wich Georgia the same, and I agree every one have right to defend their interests, thus surelly you have a right and must defend their interest (except I hate when it comes to national question) ;)


elswhere - how fortunate we are that Georgia is not a member of NATO √ʬ€¬" and for that we have to thank the European dimension within NATO and its ability, for once, to have frustrated the intentions of the USA.The Bush Administration√ʬ€¬™s arming and incitement of former Soviet republics has intensified instability across the Caucasus and Central Asia √ʬ€¬" all part of Washington√ʬ€¬™s increasingly fragmenting and self-defeating foreign policy. The USA√ʬ€¬™s seeking to turn these republics into √ʬ€¬˜beacons of liberty√ʬ€¬™ and outposts in its √ʬ€¬˜war on terror√ʬ€¬™ encouraged and legitimized isolated, opportunistic, rulers of often-doubtful internal legitimacy, to repress political opponents and media critics and conventional business activities. In Georgia and Uzbekistan in particular, increasingly dictatorial rulers have taken Washington√ʬ€¬™s political and military backing as a green light to preserve their power by any means necessary. Just exactly what buffoonery was George Bush up to in his recent high profile visit to Georgia? Is the current outcome really much of a surprise to his Washington team?Russia will do mighty well out of this bloody fiasco. The European Union must now work out what it intends to do √ʬ€¬˜ex-NATO√ʬ€¬™ within its own new, and emerging, frontiers and in its relationship with Russia. The fiasco may well be a high watershed in what is in danger of becoming an inept, arrogant, malign and disproportionate weight of USA meddling in European affairs.


Luke you talk about Russia as if they are the big enemy here. Most of the information you are getting is gained from Western News Agencies and our government both heavily influenced by our strong links to the United States.What you don't know is that America has already flown in more than 4000 front line troops ;a fleet of war ships and some very heavy kit. There is a real chance here that America and Russia could get into a stand of.I'm extremely worried about this whole thing. I'm worried because I don't want to plunge the next generation into another world war. Surely we have learnt from our mistakes.America needs influence in Georgia and will probably fight for it. The people of South Ossetia believe they are Russian before Georgian.This is really a conflict that America should stay well clear of. I'm sick of the United states sticking it's military finger into European Issues when oil is involved.This could so easily result in another large European conflict. The sooner Bush is removed from office the better.I've completely changed my mind on McCain also, the mad man is taking the same stance as Bush. I only hope Americans vote for Obama, the only man in American politics talking some sense.


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