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Rice: Saakashvili Let Russians Provoke Him Into Starting War

Rice and Saakashvili at a July 2008 press conference in Tbilisi

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Georgian President Saakashvili alienated potential NATO allies by "letting the Russians provoke him" into starting a war over South Ossetia. That's in her new book where, as with the controversy over Uzbekistan, she portrays herself as the voice of reason, in this case trying to contain the impulsive Saakashvili while also restraining the more bellicose members of her own administration.

She describes a meeting in Tbilisi with Saakashvili before the war broke out:

He's proud and can be impulsive, and we all worried that he might allow Moscow to provoke him to use force. In fact, he himself successfully provoked conflict in another breakaway part of the country, Adjara, and benefited when it had been reintegrated into Georgia through domestic and international pressure. The precedent, we feared, might make him think he could get away with a repeat performance in the territories located closer to Putin's beloved Sochi.

She urged Saakashvili to sign a non-use-of-force agreement, and he refused.

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Rice: Saakashvili Let Russians Provoke Him Into Starting War

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