Nine years ago, the U.S. and its NATO allies bombed heck out of Yugoslavia (i.e., Serbia) in order to liberate Kosovo, a province universally recognized as legitimately part of Yugoslavia-Serbia. After a couple of months, Milosevic gave up, and Kosovo recently declared its independence.
Russia has been squabbling for years with Georgia over a bit just over the Russian border within Georgia called South Ossetia, that, like Kosovo, is ethnically different on the whole from the rest of Georgia. Yesterday, Russia and Georgia went at it hammer and tongs.
How, exactly is this different from our Kosovo War, other than that Kosovo was thousands of miles away from America, while South Ossetia adjoins Russia?
"The Republic of South Ossetia consists of a checkerboard of Georgian-inhabited and Ossetian-inhabited towns and villages. The largely Ossetian capital city of Tskhinvali and most of the other Ossetian-inhabited communities are governed by the separatist government, while the Georgian-inhabited villages and towns are administered by the Georgian government. This close proximity and the intermixing of the two communities has made the conflict in South Ossetia particularly dangerous, since any attempt to create an ethnically pure territory would involve population transfers on a large scale."
Back in 2000, on the first anniversary of the Kosovo war, I offered an explanation of a costly but peaceful way to resolve these kind of inevitable disputes.