The Russians move into Georgia. The bear takes a strong swipe. There are lots of reasons this happened, but one of them is because of Bush's total foreign policy failure.
Troops over-extended in Iraq, not even enough to quell Afghanistan. Global world opinion aligned against the US and this president. Fractured NATO. Weak dollar.
Years of a wayward global strategy has reduced the US to an ineffectual superpower. So, Condi Rice can talk tough (with a quavering voice) and the president can try to sound like he's got his war on, but Putin knows better.
He has Georgia and probably as much of what else he might want and there is nothing the US can do.
Russia has decided to fill a power vacuum. And China and North Korea are watching.
UPDATE 8/24/08 from the LATimes:
...With the U.S. floundering economically and bogged down in two costly wars, Russian officials were confident that it could not and would not come rushing to Georgia's defense with a military intervention, analysts here say. Europe, meanwhile, depends upon Russian oil and gas exports, and was leery of a conflict with Moscow that could further raise fuel prices, they said.
"There is no West anymore. It's eroding and weakening," said Sergei Karaganov of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a Moscow think tank. "We are feeling very strong, and we don't trust anybody. Especially the United States."
Three or four years ago, he said, Russia would have been nervous to hear threats of expulsion from the Group of 8 industrial nations, as Republican presidential candidate John McCain suggested. Now, Karaganov said, many Russians laugh at the notion.
"I mean, who are these nations? Russia is probably stronger than any country in the G-8 except for the United States, and it has more credibility because it hasn't killed hundreds of thousands of people recently," he said. "It has won wars, and the other countries are losing them."
He paused. "There is arrogance in my statements," he said, "but that's the way people see things."