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The Russian military intervened in 2008 to drive Georgian troops out of South Ossetia and gave diplomatic recognition to both separatist regions. Georgia then broke relations with Moscow. Diplomatic ties between the two countries have been tense since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“What the hell is wrong with Russia?” Mr. Iakobashvili said.


On Election Night at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, diplomats were closely watching the returns — not just for the presidential vote but also for a ballot question in Michigan that would have a major impact on trade between the U.S. and Canada.

They were gratified when Michigan voters defeated a measure that would have blocked construction of a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Ambassador Gary Doer had urged Michigan residents to support construction of a new span over the Detroit River to take pressure over the 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge.

“Two bridges are better than one — for two-way trade, for security, for reliability,” he said.

Canada will spend $550 million to build the bridge, called the New International Trade Crossing, and collect tolls until it recoups the investment. Afterward, Canada and Michigan will share the fares.

Nearly 30,000 vehicles cross the 7,500-foot-long, privately owned Ambassador Bridge every day, but the span its rusting and showing its age.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.