August brings bitter memories, a reminder that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin will press his sphere of influence by any means, no matter how ruthless. If the United States does not want to witness more of Putin’s brutality, America will have to partner more proactively with countries committed to a West whole, free, prosperous and at peace.
On August 7, 2008, Russian tanks rolled into neighboring Georgia under the pretext of supporting South Ossetian separatists. The Georgian villages of the Tskhinvali region were burned down to the ground and ethnically cleansed. Russia imposed a military occupation. The Abkhazia region was occupied as well. To cover up its creeping annexation of foreign territories, Russia formally recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.