The US wants to stick their nose into the business of every other country. We were fine with that as long as that meant one major conflict to manage at a time, while post-Communist countries like Russian satellite states ate up Western culture and democracy only to realize, with the new EU, that it wasn't democracy at all. Like a juggler losing his composure, conflicts are now popping up all over the place, and just how many troops, and how many resources, do we want to commit to each new "war" that breaks out?
Russia begins pre-invasion of Georgia
What does a lame-duck President do in this case? He's running out of time and he's leaving an absolute shit-storm for the next President to deal with (not to mention the people who continue to give more of their taxpayer dollars to a defense budget that should have been decreased significantly over the past 8 years). No wonder both candidates are talking about how they will "change" things (how, it's not entirely clear). Who in their right mind wouldn't run on a campaign of "change" with our forces stretched thin in North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and pretty soon Russia/Georgia, with China right there ready to pick up the pieces when a hole in the armor appears?
This reminds me of Kramer and Newman playing Risk, and that's pretty much what we have: The East continuing to challenge The West in a high-stakes game. The timing of the East has been impeccable; we're clearly headed for war or another Cold War, and that couldn't be more obvious by what's going on outside the borders of modern-day Rome (the US). The irony of the Olympics in Beijing hangs there like a thin veil, attempting to disguise these conflicts as a bunch of individual problems to deal with, when the leaders in power know that there are only two players: Newman (the US & Europe) and Kramer (the East). It'll only take a couple decades until we have two major political borders left in this world: Eurmerica and EastAsia.
[Edit 12 Aug 2008, 11:09AM: Click here; even the spin-machine media can't ignore the obviousness of what's happening]
Thoughts on the emerging Cold War II from Corrupt.org: