As an American who has been completely ignorant to foreign relations in ex-Soviet states, I have no idea what to make of the current situation in Georgia. It seems as if both sides share at least some blame, and aren’t presenting the whole picture of what is going on. Listening to American commentary doesn’t help either, as our government has its own foreign policy agenda to look out for and cannot afford impartiality.

I did run into two interesting editorials on the issue, however: one from Georgia’s president and one from Russia’s minister of foreign affairs. Both have some valid arguments and both seem to skip over a few of the important historical issues. It wasn’t enough to sway me either way, but I feel like I have a better idea of what’s going on.

The only thing I know for sure is this: nobody is putting the concerns of the people of South Ossetia first. Russia claims that their current actions were made to prevent genocide, but they are accused of covertly running the separatist movement for a long time prior. Georgia seems like they are most concerned with national sovereignty and not the human rights of the separatists. In all, it’s a mess and everybody in power is worried most about politics and power, and not the people of the war-devastated region. How disappointing.

Why We Fight

This is a compelling documentary. You should go here and watch the whole thing for free online.

My quick summary is that this documentary looks at the history of the growth of the military-industrial complex since World War II. Central to the documentary is President Eisenhower’s farewell address, which warned of the looming internal threat of our military industry and what could happen if citizens were not vigilant in monitoring its actions. It presents our foreign policy as one that is not political or partisan – it is supported by Democrats and Republicans equally – but one that mirrors the Roman Empire in its superiority over many peoples that must be enforced and maintained by large standing armies. The film likens America’s influence in the world today to colonialism, except that instead of direct political control, we force free markets upon everyone so that our companies can reap huge profits.

It isn’t about liberating oppressed peoples, or spreading democracies; on both counts, we have supported or engaged in actions that have achieved the direct opposite. Those items are far less important in our military doctrine than enforcing our superiority in the world through creating – and controlling – the global capitalist economy.

The most surprising thing about this documentary for me? There’s no commentary or narration. The only voices heard are those of primary sources (including a lot of input from John McCain, who seems to have a refreshingly clear view of what is actually going on, despite his willingness to protract our current military engagements.)

Here’s the trailer, go here to watch the whole thing for free: