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Rejuvenated Georgian president cites U.S. ties as 'turning point' - International Herald Tribune

TBILISI, Georgia: On Monday, President Mikheil Saakashvili, his army in retreat and his Western allies still surprised by the intensity of the Russian attack, was the very picture of vulnerability, dodging Russian military jets.

By Wednesday he seemed an almost preternaturally reinvigorated man, once again raising the temperature in Georgia's bitter disagreements with Russia, and invoking special ties with American democracy and freedom.

Moments after President George W. Bush appeared at the Rose Garden to say that the Pentagon would begin a humanitarian aid mission to support Georgia, Saakashvili was on the phone with a Western reporter, talking fast. "This is a turning point," he said. Soon he appeared on national television, his tousled hair combed back flat and wearing a freshly pressed suit, assuring his country that the worst had passed.

No matter that Russian troops were 30 miles away, milling on the road outside the capital, meeting no resistance. Saakashvili was in cocky form in an interview later in the evening with reporters, expounding on Nazi propaganda, Orwell and the film "Dr. Strangelove."

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:30:16 PM EST
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