The U.S. has been meddling in countries that border on Russia for years. One of those countries has been Georgia. That meddling helps place the current U.S. rhetoric and threats over Ukraine in context. One can see the pattern in the policies of the U.S. government toward countries around Russia. If Mexico and Canada were a dozen different countries and some other major power (China, India, Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany) made a concerted effort to influence those countries in a variety of ways, how would the U.S. government respond? What if one of those ways was to train their armed forces and supply them with weapons? The Monroe Doctrine is an example of one response. Under the circumstances, Russia’s responses to an analogous drive by the U.S. have been very restrained.
Russia and Georgia fought a brief 5-day war in 2008 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, which was an autonomous region that refused to become part of Georgia. Russia had some personnel in South Ossetia for its security. The wikipedia article on that war makes clear that Russia did not invade Georgia until Georgia invaded South Ossetia.
“However, no conclusive evidence was presented by Georgia or its Western supporters that Russia was invading the country before the Georgian attack, according to the New York Times. Instead, ‘the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on 7 August with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm’. Georgia’s claim to be responding to a premeditated Russian assault received little support from the US and NATO.”
From the wikipedia article on the Russian-Georgian War, we read a bit about U.S. meddling prior to this war:
“Although Georgia has no significant oil or gas reserves of its own, its territory hosts part of the important Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline transit route that supplies western and central Europe. The pipeline, supplied by oil from Azerbaijan’s Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli oil field transports 1 million barrels (160,000 m3) of oil per day. It has been a key factor for the United States’ support for Georgia, allowing the West to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern oil while bypassing Russia and Iran.”
“Georgia maintained a close relationship with the G.W. Bush administration of the United States of America. In 2002, the USA started the Georgia Train and Equip Program to arm and train the Georgian military, and, in 2005, a Georgia Sustainment and Stability Operations Program [SSOP] to broaden capabilities of the Georgian armed forces. These programmes involved training by the United States Army Special Forces, United States Marine Corps, and military advisors personnel.”
A photo shows “The U.S. Ambassador John Tefft addresses Georgian graduates of the SSOP in June 2007.”
Wikileaks cables reveal that the U.S. knew that Georgia attacked first. This did not stop Hillary Clinton from criticizing Russia:
Hillary Clinton slammed Russia for fighting to protect the autonomy of S. Ossetia and termed the Russian presence an “occupation”.6:43 am on March 5, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff