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Column: Brains, Not Muscle, Needed In Georgia Conflict

This story was written by Tiffany Campbell, The Daily Athenaeum

The eighth day in the eighth month of the year 2008 was the highly anticipated first day of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.Held in a communist country with a questionable history of human rights infringements, these particular Olympics seemed to particularly showcase how far the global community had come in putting past prejudices aside for the pursuit of peace.Perhaps the countless protests the torchs Journey of Harmony met as it traveled across the world should have foreshadowed what events would eclipse the opening ceremonies.As millions watched fireworks bursting over the stadium crowd of 91,000 celebrating global unity, Russian artillery was exploding over military bases in the Georgian territory of South Ossetia.It was a culmination of the political tensions between Russian the former Soviet country, which it is important to note, has taken steps to become a more westernized country and recently applied to become a member of NATO.Russia maintains its actions were in response to an unnecessarily large Georgian military offensive against separatists whose recent violence had caused 10 deaths in the region of South Ossetia.Georgia has been plagued by factions of separatists in several territories who wish to secede from the nation for years.But the Georgian government is quick to point out the conflict is fueled by Russias support of the separatists. Russia had sent peacekeepers to the areas earlier in the year.Also, during spring, the current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered officials to establish semi-official relations with separatist administrations in both breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.Russia even issued Russian passports to those who support secession from Georgia.Russian government officials argue they are acting to protect Russian citizens living in or near the separatists regions.Five days after the first strike was made by Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to military operations in Georgia. However, Russian troops are set to remain in their current positions while Georgia says it needs further evidence of a Russian halt; in the meantime, they say they will be prepared for anything.Since Georgia has appealed to NATO for assistance, many in the US are waiting to see what role the government wants to play in this new conflict.It appears that many American politicians, like one currently occupying the Oval Office, are already fastening their red capes ready to protect poor little frightened Georgia against the big bad Russians.Sure, there is a much greater level of depth to the situation, but it is not being recognized. The medias portrayal of the two countries line up along the all too familiar cliches once again. And as a society, we immediately identify and support the underdog.But this is not a comic strip or a movie. Nor is it a decision which should be made on the basis of what choice will gain the most votes in the upcoming election.Anyone analyzing the situation is a fool to try and paint one party completely right and the other entirely wrong. Such defined lines rarely exist in the world.Leading the public to believe the U.S. only involves itself in military conflicts to protect the Davids of the world does help ease the consciouses of the general populous; we never have to acknowledge the idea that America might have take the wrong course of action.So if the familiar David vs. Goliath version of the storyline continues to dominate the media and the political agenda, our government needs to take greater care in being more thorough in its analysis of the situation before it commits our country to political or military involvement.After the past five years, that lesson should be learned by now.