Georgia

We do have the mystery of why the Georgians embarked on this folly. Did they think Bush had greenlighted it? McCain?

Militarily, the logistics are impossible, even if we weren't already fighting two wars. I doubt that our navy could dare the Black Sea even if the Turks permitted it. Still, the Russian Bear is hardly the monster of twenty-five years ago. It's Russian air power that is really killing the Georgians, and I expect that a relatively small chunk of our air power could sweep the skies pretty clean. If not, why the hell are we spending more on our military than the next thirty countries combined? Come to think of it, why are we anyway?

The real reason we can't fight the Russians, of course, is that they still have all those nukes and the means to deliver them. A tiny fraction of their nuclear missiles could wipe us off the map.

Unfortunately, our allies in Europe are terribly dependent on Russian oil and gas, so it's unlikely that they have much stomach for confrontation either.

The linguistic and ethnic tensions underlying this fight could likely have been dealt with if Bush were not so busy running a clown show and getting streets named after himself. Their is a history of ethnic expulsions and its possible that partition is the best deal for the greatest number.

The Ossetians, North and South, are a small and relatively isolated ethnic group. Their language, Ossetian, is an Iranian derivative and hence Indo European. Georgians, who have lived in the area since ancient times at least, number a few million and speak Georgian, a South Caucasian language. The South Caucasian languages are unrelated to any other known language groups, not even Northeast and Northwest Caucasian, which may or may not be related to each other. (The Abkhaz speak one of the latter).

How dangerous this is for the world now depends almost entirely on Russia and Putin. If he insists on conquering and subduing Georgia, we have little choice but to restart the cold war, and the Eastern European countries, especially Ukraine and the Baltics, will have a scary life with hard choices. If he backs off, content with absorbing South Ossetia and bloodying Georgia's nose, then we can breathe easier, at least for a moment.

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