TigerHawk has a good round-up of posts about Russia's invasion of Georgia, a staunch American ally in the region and the nation with the third largest contingent of Coalition troops in Iraq. TigerHawk warns that his reactions to the invasion are only alcohol-fueled speculation, but I think several of his points are spot-on. (CIA factbook page on Georgia.)
# Vladimir Putin is exploiting George W. Bush's weakness, which is brought on by the fact that he is thought to be too unpopular and his administration too distracted for the United States to mount effective opposition to the Russian attack.
# The United States has invested credibility in Georgia's security (the article notes that 1000 United States Marines were in the country just last month on a training mission). If we do not respond in some fairly firm way other former Soviet states are going to wonder, with more than a little justification, whether our friendship is valuable.
# The Europeans will intensify their recent internal debate about their security against resurgent Russian expansionism. The doves will campaign for appeasement and anti-Americanism, and the realists will call for closer ties with the United States.
And of course the timing -- coinciding with the start of the Olympics -- is no coincidence.
And of course also, don't forget to thank the United Nations for its role in enabling this aggression.
The fighting in South Ossetia and Abkhazia had stopped over a decade ago, because Georgia could not muster sufficient military force to regain control of the two breakaway border areas. Then a UN brokered peace deal brought in several thousand Russian peacekeepers.
Who are now attacking Georgia.