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The Pipeline War/Rainy Night in Georgia

Well:

US aircraft have started to fly some of Georgia’s 2,000 troops in Iraq back home to join the fight in the breakaway province of South Ossetia, General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq said today.

“The flights are ongoing to redeploy the elements of the Georgian contingent so that they can deal with the security issues in their country,” General Petraeus told The Times in an interview at his office inside Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Here we have American forces helping a beleaguered tiny nation reinforce against an invasion by a major power. You don't have to stretch that very far to find a Vietnam analogy, only in reverse. Or maybe it's closer to Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.

But that doesn't mean the Russians risk launching WWIII over Georgia. The stakes are too small -- well, not to Georgia -- and Russia, honestly, can't be stopped if they choose to go in with overwhelming force.

The diplomatic cost to Russia, however, would be astronomical -- especially over a country as small as Georgia. Now that Moscow's books are finally getting balanced, it's not the time for them to go tipping over apple carts. And please excuse the horribly mixed metaphor.