The current conflict in Georgia shows just how dangerous it is in this 21st century world to pursue political goals by military means. In an era when war — and nuclear weapons — can easily spread and bring unimaginable devastation, it is imperative that conflicts between states be resolved peacefully.
The U.S.-backed militarization of the Caucasus in the former Soviet Union exploded on the night of Aug. 7. Under cover of darkness and as the world watched the Olympics, the government of right-wing Georgian President Saakashvili ordered an all-out military attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia.
Military alliances are always sold as things that produce security. In practice they tend to do the opposite. Thus, Germany formed the Triple Alliance with Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to counter the enmity of France following the Franco-Prussian War. In response, France, England and Russia formed the Triple Entente. The outcome was World War I.