How to murder a small country
(A Russian convoy outside the village of Dzhaba in South Ossetia. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia declared that war has started.)*Motive
Claim that the country to be invaded is oppressing a minority population, preferably located along a shared border.
Example: Nazi invasion of Poland,
3 September 1939
(A Russian mobile artillery unit fired toward a Georgian position outside Dzhava on Saturday.)Opportunity
Choose a time of the year when the attention of the world is otherwise occupied or in late summer/early fall when journalists are usually on vacation.
Example: Japanese invasion of China,
7 July 1937
(Russian air attacks struck two apartment buildings in Gori in what an official at the Georgian Interior Ministry called a major escalation.)Means
Take advantage of other great powers' fears that their involvement could escalate the invasion into a broader regional war.
Example: Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, 21 August 1968
(One Georgian soldier, his face a mask of exhaustion, cradled a Kalashnikov. We killed as many of them as we could, he said. But where are our friends?)
* Excerpts and photos from the NYTimes.