When parsing out the origins and circumstances of armed conflicts, we often consider “actors” to be solely the armed participants and perhaps foreign mediators, neglecting the dynamic roles played by others. I argue that in the case of the “Five-Day War” between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 over the Georgian separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that the United States, in the vehicle of others’ perceptions about it, played one such dynamic role. Although I believe the evidence suggests that perceptions of the United States were relatively insignificant for Georgian leaders, they were instrumental in fomenting the conflict on the Russian side and without them, this conflict with its particular characteristics would not have occurred. Examining media reports and secondary sources, I will discuss Russian perceptions of American intentions, capabilities, and resolve, particularly through the lenses of the United States’ relationship with Georgia, military and economic superiority, recognition of Kosovo’s independence, plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, and push for Georgian and Ukrainian inclusion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Ultimately, regardless of Russia’s precise intentions in the conflict, I will demonstrate that its perceptions of the United States were instrumental in its actions.