Doesn’t anyone in this country realize that something seriously grave and important is happening in the Caucuses? Russia and Georgia are at war, and it’s getting even less than the scantily-covered American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Regardless of who or which side began the current aggressions, the fact remains that a couple months ago the US was actively pursuing membership into the NATO alliance of Georgia. Under the terms of the NATO treaty, this would have meant we would have been at war with Russia at this time.

I’m so sick of the persistent American need for a constant drip of militarism to keep its social cohesion alive. For years I’ve been watching as American administrations and politicians dive into the “problems” with Russia, consistently spouting a jingoistic lament at the “democratic deficits” and “authoritarian trappings” of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. All the while ignoring the fact that most of the elections in Russia in the past decade have been free and fair compared to anything that happened prior to them, and that regardless of the wisdom of specific policy decisions he may have made since taking office, Vladimir Putin has been the deftest handler of the Russian state in living memory and is easily the most popular Russian Leader in history.

America endeavors to clash with Vladimir Putin or to “contain” Russia at its peril. We need to look closer at the wider region and Russia’s ability to be an ally and stabilizing force, and stop letting balance-of-power rivalry lead us blindly to our doom. America risks the same decline Britain and Rome before it experienced: obsessed with leadership, we are spreading ourselves thin and failing to see the positive influence that can be had by letting other great powers manage their own near-abroad.

Georgia has been at war with Abkazia and South Ossetia for years. Trying to bring such a quagmire into the fold of NATO could prove fatal to the alliance. Trying to take sides in this current conflict would also be total folly for America. America must support the quickest end to the conflict that leaves the least casualties and then stay the hell out of the way. If that means accepting Russia as the governor and mediator of the matter, so be it (and I’m not the only one saying so). We need a strong, stable Russia that is at peace with its neighbors far more than we need the territorial integrity of Georgia. Besides, if we really cared about the territorial integrity of tiny European states, we would not have let stuff like this happen over the past 20 years…

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