So it's 08/08/08- the same day that the opening ceremonies for the summer Olympics are supposed to take place in Beijing, Russian forces are said to be invading Georgia. Admittedly, I don't know much about the politics in Georgia, but apparently there's a region within Georgia called South Ossetia which has been trying to assert its independence for years, seeking to either become an independent nation or to reunify with neighboring North Ossetia, a move which would place the region under Russian control. Ossetians apparently have a population which is largely descended from a tribe called the Alans, and they share a common language with their North Ossetian neighbors. In 2006 there was apparently some kind of election in which South Ossetians voted (apparently overwhelmingly) for independence. This move was ignored by the Georgian leadership in Tblisi.
Anyhoo, there have been some stories about Russian troops amassing along the border and doing military exercises over the last few months. In addition, the United States has troops stationed in Georgia who have been working on training Georgian troops for quite a while. Apparently the Russians have rolled tanks into South Ossetia as part of some kind of territorial grab, and the Georgians are claiming that they've already shot down two Russian planes (flying over Georgian territory).
I'm not sure how I feel about the whole Russian invasion thing. I saw the Georgian president on TV this morning bemoaning the fact that the Russians were invading his peaceful little country, but that was before I knew that the people in the area being invaded had expressed a desire to gain independence or to become a part of Russia.
I'm pretty sure of one thing, though- it would probably be a good thing if we didn't have so much of our military tied up in Iraq at the moment. If the Russians go ahead and just roll forward to take over all of Georgia (an act which I think would constitute a war of aggression by almost anyone's standards), it would probably be a good thing if we had some troops available to help defend Georgia (since they're supposed to be one of our allies and we're supposed to be helping to support their burgeoning democracy). Of course, Russia still has lots and lots of nukes, so you kind of always have to keep that in mind when you start messing with them (but c'mon, George- you wanted to invade a country that threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction. They should be much easier to find when we roll into Russia. In fact, the Russians might end up being eager to show them to us...).
But seriously- defending our allies and helping to thwart invasions of friendly democratic nations is much more in keeping with what I think we should be doing with our military forces (as opposed to occupying foreign countries that we invaded on the basis of false or fabricated intelligence).
Anyhoo, 8/08/08 is shaping up to be an interesting day.
Maybe more later.