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Some say the White House sent Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili mixed signals. The violence may bolster U.S. hard-liners’ argument for further isolating Moscow.
the conflict in Georgia this week has left [Washington’s]efforts to engage Russia in disarray, and there are increasing signs that administration hard-liners are using the crisis to reassert their view that Moscow should be isolated.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s declaration Saturday that “Russian aggression must not go unanswered” was seen by some experts as the first salvo of what could be a new battle over administration policy.
Some conservatives believe the administration has not been tough enough with Russia. Frederick W. Kagan, a neoconservative scholar who has advised the Bush administration, praised Cheney’s comment and faulted President Bush for failing to outline to the Russians the consequences of pressing their assault.