I cannot defend President Mikheil Saakashvilli's decsion to send soldiers into the breakaway regions of Abkhasia and South Ossetia. Apparently this was the match that lit this tinderbox-but perhaps, as Robert Kagan argues in the linked article, it was more of an excuse.
It seems like a big mistake-impelling the Russians to attempt perhaps to overthrow him and regain some influence in Georgia.
What if we had a state (perhaps Minnesota) that wanted to be independent sitting between us and Canada? Would we be so angry that we'd bomb it? Or would we go after Canada?
So far we really haven't done anything to help Georgia. And our words, particularly those of our President, really sound pretty stupid. Do you really think Vladmir Putin cares that you are "very firm" with him?
Weakened by a struggling economy and a war sucking billions out of it, we don't have quite as much capital-or perhaps even power, to affect events, as we'd like to pretend.
That being said, we have a moral obligation to do everything we can, in collaboration with Western Europe, to say to Prime Minister Putin that what he is doing puts him in danger serious consequences from the West. Because if we turn our head-where else will he want to go next?