There is reporting based on leaks describing the results of US intelligence investigations that the explosion at the US Embassy in Georgia was the work of the Russian GRU (military intelligence). This allegation had been made originally by the Georgians, which touched off the usual torrent of accusations that the claims of Russian involvement were Georgian propaganda. That’s a harder–though not impossible–case to make if US intelligence has independently arrived at the same conclusion.
The administration’s response: “It’s not necessarily pointing a finger, but part of a dialogue expressing our deep concerns.” Wow. That’ll put the fear of God into them. Wouldn’t want to label, now would we?
IMO this is just one of the periodic surfacings of the ongoing covert and dirty conflict between Russia and Georgia. Evidence of US involvement is absent, but as Rumsfeld noted, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I would surmise that one explanation for the Russian action–if it indeed occurred–is that the US has been actively assisting the Georgians and in fact did something that struck very close to Russian operations and interests. If that’s true, then it would mean that the vaunted reset is pretty much a fraud. If it isn’t, and the Russian action was unprovoked, the vaunted reset is pretty much a farce.
I would imagine that the covert conflict will continue unabated. And the prospects of it breaking out into something not so covert are always there, given the volatility of the personalities involved, and the political uses of conflict. The political uses are particularly important given the impending Russian presidential election. Depending on your theory of what the real dynamics of that election are, you could easily construct scenarios in which a renewal of conflict between Russia and Georgia would be beneficial for Putin or Medvedev (if you believe that they are truly rivals wrestling under the carpet), or both (if you really believe in the fundamental unity of the tandem).
I further imagine that given the near Pavlovian reactions to anything involving Russia and Georgia, the comments will soon revert to free-fire mode. Counting down. Ten, nine, . . .