Does your blood boil? Mine does. The pro-Western, pro-democracy, pro-market underdog, Georgia, gets kicked around by the Russian bully...again.
Well, here's another view.
What is the motivation behind Georgia's urge to join NATO? To get away from the traditional Russian interference in Georgia's affairs. Present-day Georgia contains two regions that want to break away from Georgia. NATO membership would hinder Russia's support for the two break-away regions.
Let's get real about NATO. It's a military alliance, not a democracy-spreading miracle. Its primary purpose is to oppose Russian expansionism. That's the attraction that membership provides for former Soviet satellites and republics. Russian membership in NATO would not only alienate the former Warsaw Pact members, but also render it ineffective--similar to including the entire world in a military alliance. Why shouldn't Russia be upset at the prospect of new NATO members outside Eastern Europe encircling from the South?
Let's go a step further. Vladimir Putin is very aware that his bountiful oil revenue is a cyclical phenomenon. He's arguably an expert on energy; he did his dissertation on the subject. That's quite a contrast to the hysterical and self-absorbed Western media that can't handle an economic explanation that takes longer than five seconds. Putin is rolling in dough right now, but that bounty is about to dry up with the global economic slowdown. Now is the opportunity to send the right message and set up the right bargaining chips on the Georgia issue as well as the larger NATO issue involving both Georgia and Ukraine. He's seizing the opportunity with gusto, and he's truly screwing with Georgia by cutting the country in half. Never say that Putin doesn't have a sense of humor.
Now, I haven't even begun to talk about the parallels operating in Georgia and Kosovo. Other folks have talked about that aspect at length, and everyone I've read is correct--Georgia is a continuation of the Kosovo principle.
Yeah, my blood boils...but...don't you think that someone should get nominated for 2008 Moron Of The Year for giving Russia this golden opportunity?