Paul Goble, for RFE/REL
Provocations are by definition intended to provoke, and consequently, responding to them in exactly the way their authors hope is often the worst possible choice by those against whom they are directed. It gives those who are using them a victory they should not have, and those against whom they are directed several kinds of defeats they do not deserve. But all too often, the temptation to rush into the trap set by those who launch provocations is so great that many are not able to avoid doing so.
Few in Georgia -- or indeed anywhere else -- can have any doubts that recent claims by Moscow's Federal Security Service (FSB) that Tbilisi is providing training or other kinds of support for Islamist and nationalist militants in the North Caucasus are absurd provocations. But even fewer in the Georgian capital seem to recognize that far more is riding on their responses than whether the international community accepts, or at least does nothing in response to, this latest example of political duplicity from the Russian powers-that-be.
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Playing Into Moscow's Hands