Russia’s rulers have made their point: The Russian military can shoot and bomb its way into the sovereign territory of a neighboring state, and the world will… talk.
In the movies, this would have been the moment for the sheriff to appear, and take the risk of facing down the ruffians. But outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, America over the past five years has gone out of the lone superpower business. The cowboy has holstered his gun, and joined the crowd at the UN saloon. The watchword is soft power — whether dealing with North Korea, Syria, Palestinian terrorists or Iran. Which goes far to explain why Russia’s Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev figured they could get away with this. More in my article today on NRO, “Georgia and the American Cowboy“… “When too many thugs cross too many lines and get away with it, the rules of the entire global game start to shift.”