"In the 21st Century, Nations do not Invade Other Nations."

The Russia-Georgia conflict over South Ossetia has been met with a media assault in the United States which has framed the issue as a blatant act of Russian "aggression." Threats and speculations of a new Cold War are ripe, while Cold War sentiments can be found across party lines. In fact, both the liberal and conservative wings of the establishment are united in their posture towards Russia. The roots of the present crises lie, however, not in the particularly uncivilized character of Russian expansionism, but rather in the very fabric of the entire international political system.

Mikheil Saakashvili, the current president of Georgia, came to power on the back of the 2003 "Rose Revolution," one of four "color" revolutions that swept central and eastern Europe in the first years of the 21st century. These so-called revolutions, financed and provided with logistical support from the United States, propped up pro-western leaders throughout the region. The stakes in Georgia include regional military presence, access to the Black Sea and perhaps most importantly, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that connects the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan to the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey.

At the same time the United States expands its influence in the Caucuses, it does so at the expense of Russian influence. There is no doubt about it, Russia is an expansionist power that is vying for regional supremacy with aspirations of becoming a major global player. However, the hypocrisy with which the United States confronts Russia is befitting the stages of theatre. What a magnanimous farce the American ruling classes are playing on the television screens of the world! With only the deepest cynicism Bush said, "Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century." McCain similarly said, "In the 21st century nations do not invade other nations." These statements, echoed ad nausem by the political classes and throughout the Western media, in the midst of two brutal occupations that have killed hundreds of thousands, creating millions of refugees, destabilized and ruined two countries, and are responsible for untold miseries and sufferings, are a telltale sign of the absolute lunacy of the ruling elites, as if their actions hadn't already demonstrated this to be the case.

The United States has pursued an aggressive policy which the Russian government, until recently, acquiesced to the expansion of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance of the West dominated by the United States, right to the borders of Russia not only undermines the balance of power in the region, but is taken as a direct security threat by Russia. Since 2007, the U.S. has been trying to establish a missile defense shield in Poland that Russian officials are calling a threat to their security.

The outbreak of war occurred on the morning of Aug. 8 when Georgia launched a full-scale assault on Tskhinval, the capital of the breakaway region of south Ossetia, in order to reign in on the independence movement. South Ossetia has had de-facto independent since its '91 to'92 war with Georgia. A 2006 referendum in South Ossetia resulted with over 99 percent in favor of independence. Russia, which has close ties with south Ossetia, as well as a peacekeeping force that was attacked, responded by driving Georgia out of south Ossetia and advanced into Georgia, destroying its military infrastructure. Russia today reports that according to the most recent numbers provided by the local officials of south Ossetia, there have been 1,492 deaths. If one were to catch the news in the middle of its program, it might be difficult to garner from the discussions that it was Georgia that initiated the conflict against much smaller, weaker people, that it was the principle cause of death and suffering in this conflict.

In the meantime, the U.S. has attempted to whip up fear and animosity towards Russia in order to justify and pursue its own imperialistic ambitions. On August 14, the U.S. signed an agreement with Poland for the installation of an anti-ballistic missile defense system. The missile defense system is a dangerous escalation that analysts have stated mimics the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the same time, NATO has built up its naval presence in the Black Sea, with a reported 10 vessels already in the area.

While the nominal title of the article is about the Russia-Georgia conflict, it has taken this long to write about the actual conflict not only because of the major international developments which preceded, conditioned, and gave impetus to this conflict, and are indispensable for a correct estimation of the conflict, but because this conflict must itself be seen as an event in a world-wide struggle waged by the ruling classes of the competing nations for influence and control. The popular classes in the U.S. who are sincerely against wars of domination must foremost oppose those being carried out and planned by our "own" government.