Despite the withdrawal of Georgian troops from South Ossetia, the Russians are continuing their attack. It is now quite clear that Russia intends nothing less than the seizure of both South Ossetia and Abhazia, the total military defeat of Georgia and the overthrow of the democratically elected Georgian President, Mikheil Saakhashvili.
The folly of the Bucharest summit, which failed to invite either Georgia or Ukraine into NATO is now revealed. The objections of France might have been expected, those of Germany are simply reprehensible. The fact that Georgia, like Germany in 1949, faced partial occupation by Russian military forces and a Russian sponsored puppet government in its occupied territory was the reason to bring Georgia into the alliance and not to exclude it. Had the allied powers said to Germany then, "We would like to have you in NATO, eventually, but first please sort out your "internal affairs" with "East" Germany, then the Western powers may well have been defeated by the Soviet Union- to the ruin of us all.
If we were in doubt before, there can be no doubt now: Russia intends to crush all its opponents. They are not a strategic partner, they are a strategic opponent.
The first result of this curiously old fashioned invasion is that Russia must be expelled from The Council of Europe: the organisation that was founded to promote human rights and democracy in Europe. She should not receive an invitation to the group of industrialised countries - no more "G-8" summits.
It is time to return to the Cold war policy of containment. NATO bases should be moved to places like Romania and the Baltic to make it quite clear that the North Atlantic Treaty holds good for these former Warsaw Pact territories. Ukraine should be brought under the Western nuclear umbrella, and any Russian attempt against that country should be resisted fiercely.
Although the world is more interdependent than 20 years ago, the fact is that Russian gas is only one part of the equation: and they have no on else they can sell it to, since their pipes do not go to China, and it will be many years before they do so. In fact Russia is far more dependent on the large Western economies then we are on the much smaller and narrow Russian economy. If Russia chooses to try to use their large holdings of US securities as a political weapon, the US Treasury, or Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae should temporally void those securities held by Russian state and quasi-state actors (the precedent, ironically enough might be the 1998 Russian Partial default) and pay what is due to a trust account only paying out upon the restoration of Russian good behaviour.
Pressure should be put on the large number of Russians who come to the West: in particular the spies should now be expelled en masse. Those who support the Putin regime should find visas for shopping trips to the West much harder to come by.
Russia has crossed the line back to the Cold War, but this Hot War, planned and initiated by the Russian government, if not stopped immediately, should have serious consequences - for Russia.
For the West- it is a deafening alarm bell: we are as much under threat as the citizens of Tbilisi.