The latest crisis in Russian-Georgian relations, precipitated by the arrest of four Russian officers in Georgia on suspicions of espionage, could put the United States in an awkward situation in which it will be forced to explicitly choose between one or the other side.
The recent promise by Georgian Minister of Defense Irakli Okruashvili to celebrate the next New Year in Tskhinvali (the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia) apparently was not mere bragging; it seems that the Georgian leadership intends to bring the brinksmanship game to a close in the next few months. The dynamic of events is a telling sign. Only a few years ago crises were almost seasonal, with a serious conflagration occurring every spring and fall. Last year they became roughly quarterly. In the beginning of this year the pace quickened, and a serious crisis occurred approximately every week; now many weeks see two or three crises. [...]