President-elect Barack Obama "needs a new approach to Russia," said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, "if we want to avoid a new cold war." One necessary change is for us to "get over our crush" on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. His country was "mauled by the bear in the brief August war," but Georgia under Saakashvili "isn't quite the shining beacon of democracy that Americans sometimes believe."
The tricky thing for Obama is figuring out how to handle Russia's "official president, Dmitry Medvedev," said Garry Kasparov in The Wall Street Journal, and its real leader, Vladimir Putin. "Obama can treat them like fellow democratic leaders or like the would-be dictators that they are." His decision will say plenty about "how seriously he takes his promises of change."
It's best to tune out the propaganda war over Georgia, said Anne Applebaum in Slate. Saakashvili provoked Russia by storming into semi-autonomous South Ossetia, but Moscow had goaded him by shooting down his planes and shooting Georgia's policemen. So Obama and other Western leaders should "support Georgian democracy—not particular Georgian democrats—and prepare a unified response to the Russian military escapades to come."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week