Of course, Russia pretty clearly premeditated this by issuing Russian Passports to Georgian citizens in the region so that they could then turn around and claim they were concerned about the safety of Russian citizens when Georgia moved in to try to contain the secessionist rebels that Russia had openly backed anyway.
(Apparently, Russia is very supportive of breakaway republics, provided they are not named Kosovo or Chechnya.)
The Kremlin is paranoid, because even former Soviet Republics are starting to look a lot better than the near-totalitarianism Russia has reverted to. Nationalization of industries, cronyism, and a deterioration of free speech and a free press have all shown that the guys in charge don't have anyone's interests in mind but their own. Let's just hope that nobody mistakes a Russia run by ex-KGB agents and mobsters for the democracy it claims to be and tells the U.S. to mind it's own business, because, for once, we shouldn't.
Wait a minute, though.
Do you think Russia's growing belligerence could have anything to do with the fact that NATO has expanded to a ludicrous degree all around its borders? Or that maybe they're feeling like they have to show the world they're still in business since the U.S. is planning to base "missile defense" systems (which are missiles, for those keen on irony) in Poland, to counter the imminent threat of ... what? Maybe Iran, if it ever builds some ICBMs?
(Honestly, I'm still not sure if Bush means to piss off the Russians with this missile defense bullshit, or if he's too stupid to understand why they're pissed, or what. I find it kind of hard to believe that anyone would truly be that stupid, however.)
Unfortunately, any demands or even threats that we might make in order to get the Russians to back down ring pretty hollow these days. Who out there in the world doesn't know that the U.S. is in no position to jump into another war? We've been ground down by a dispiriting war in Iraq for years and are now seeing disturbing resurgence by the Taliban (since we dedicated so much of our military power to the idiotic war in Iraq, rather than trying to stabilize and consolidate our successes in Afghanistan).
Well, if we couldn't threaten to send planes or troops, we could damn well send Condi! And look, we got ourselves a cease-fire!
Yeah, that agreement means exactly jack shit to Russia, since it contains this provision:
While awaiting an international mechanism, Russian peacekeeping forces will implement additional security measures.What that means is that, until the UN moves troops in and establishes a peacekeeping force, Russia can do whatever the hell it wants.
And guess who can veto anything that the UN tries to do?
Russia has no plans to coexist peacefully with Georgia, and barely even bothers to pretend. Hell, Russian "diplomats" casually mention the imminent extinction of Georgia as a state. That's really not something you do if your goal is harmony.
Imagine if Bush said something like that about one of our neighbors!