In a column for The National Interest, Doug Bandow sums up my thoughts on the conflict, and America’s proper role in it (or rather out of it):
Russia had plausible justification for responding to Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia, though Moscow applied disproportionate force to achieve other ends. Nevertheless, the Caucasus never has been viewed as strategic by America. If anything is at stake in that region, it affects Europe, not America. Washington once concentrated on preventing hostile domination of the Eurasian land mass. Protecting a former Soviet province seeking to suppress secessionist sentiments in an even smaller territory of the former Soviet Union doesn’t come close as a replacement objective.
There is little else at issue for America. Despite careless talk of a new cold war, Russia is not turning back into the USSR. European strategic affairs are returning to pre–World War I great-power competition rather than the global hegemonic competition that characterized the cold war. Washington need not worry about a hostile power dominating Eurasia. In fact, even an assertive Russia has few issues in serious conflict with America. The most important one, Iran, is peripheral to Europe.
In contrast, the status and comfort of Eastern Europe—a region dominated by the Soviet Union during the cold war—matters little to U.S. security. The Caucasus is even less important, and certainly is not worth an American defense guarantee, whether within or without NATO.
Also worth pointing out is that American antagonism of Russia only makes it more difficult to the U.S. to pressure Russia to curtail future support of Iran - something that, according to those same people who are now proposing confrontation with Russia, is of utmost importance. So much for a coherent view of geo-politics.