In August 2008, after war erupted between Georgia and Russia, the Bush administration was seeking to play a role as mediator. One day, Rice writes in “No Higher Honor,” she received a call from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said that the Russians had three demands.
The first two Rice considered feasible: Georgia would have to sign a pledge that it would cease the use of force, and it would have to send its troops back to the barracks. The third was decidedly more complicated.
But then Sergei said, “The other demand is just between us. Misha Saakashvili [the Georgian president] has to go.” I couldn’t believe my ears and I reacted out of instinct, not analysis.
“Sergei, the secretary of state of the United States does not have a conversation with the Russian foreign minister about overthrowing a democratically elected president,” I said. “The third condition has just become public because I’m going to call everyone I can and tell them that Russia is demanding the overthrow of the Georgian president.”