War over Transdniestria?

ABC headline of tonight's interview with Sarah Palin, says apparently she implies


So let me get this straight if Russia finds itself in a war over another frozen conflict, we will go to war? Does Sarah Palin understand the danger of that statement? Does she not realize that there are multiple "frozen conflicts" that are very similar to the situation in Georgia? 

The chance of more Russian military action, especially after its total success (at least from the Russian standpoint) of its war with Georgia, while not immediately apparent is very very plausible.

Just look at the frozen conflict in Moldova.

Moldova with just 4 million people is struggling to deal with the breakaway region of Transdniestria. This dispute is very similar to the one in Georgia. Russia even HAS TROOPS in Transdniestria - just as it did in S. Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia supports independence for Transdniestria and has used the breakaway region to undermine the Moldovan government. The International Crisis Group writes in 2004 that:

In its recent and largely unilateral attempts to resolve the Transdniestrian conflict, Russia has demonstrated almost a Cold War mindset...Russia remains reluctant to see the EU, U.S. or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) play an active role in resolving the conflict because Moldova is still viewed by many in Moscow as a sphere of exclusively Russian geopolitical interest...Despite having accepted concrete deadlines for withdrawing its troops, Russia has repeatedly back-pedalled while trying to force through a political settlement that would have ensured, through unbalanced constitutional arrangements, continued Russian influence.

The Economist recently explained that Moldova is increasingly nervous:

Tiny Moldova is also anxious. Like Georgia, it has a breakaway enclave, Transdniestria, that is "protected" by Russian troops. Although Moldova has no aspirations to join NATO, it is keen to get into the EU. Its president, Vladimir Voronin, met his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in late August. Mr Medvedev said there was a "good chance" of settling the dispute. But after the August war, the Moldovans fear, rightly, that this might be done only on Russian terms.

It is definitely not out of the realm of possibility that Russia could take military action against Moldova. The Russian motive for war with Georgia equally applies to Moldova. If Russia were to believe that Moldova was trying to move closer to NATO and the EU, it is entirely plausible that Russia could mobilize militarily. And if that were to occur, Sarah Palin's statement basically would commit us to war with another nuclear power. Supporting democracy is important. But it has its limits. And it is simply not in our national interest to make such blanket commitments that could lead to a much larger war.