The Russian incursion into Georgia with the aim of carving the country into Russian protectorates overseen by Russian troops is part of a multistage plan to recover the former USSR Republics by fomenting political chaos, creating 5th columns and treating country after country, from the Ukraine to Poland, just as Czechoslovakia was treated by Germany.
But the ultimate cost of the Russian campaign goes beyond even Eastern Europe. Russia's goal is to create an energy monopoly by controlling Baltic oil on the one hand further bulking up its already sizable energy base and building a coalition of socialist South American nations and Islamist Middle Eastern nations into a Mega-OPEC overseen by Russia with the aim of strangling America and the West.
Such talk might seem paranoid, but Russia has already made a great deal of political headway not only in the Middle East and Latin America, where it has brought together Iran's Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Chavez as part of a larger Latin American slash Arab summit, but even in Western nations.
Germany's former President Gerhard Schroeder is today a Russian employee, in the US, Russia's Lukoil controls a sizable number of American gas stations, where it has acquired 1300 Getty stations and 800 Mobil locations in the Northeast. That doesn't simply translate into filling station profits, it translates into political influence as was manifest when New York Senator Charles Schumer penned a Wall Street Journal op ed asking that Russia be given a free hand in Eastern Europe. In Israel the situation is even worse with Russian government backed tycoon Arkady Gaydamak has his own political party that may wind up getting a significant number of seats in the Israeli Knesset.
The present day Russian oligarchy has stripped away its Communist leanings and is making do purely with money. Driving up oil and gas prices to weaken the West and fuel its arms industry, Russia is buying up influence worldwide, supplying arms to where they will do the most harm while preparing for its great nationalistic project of consuming the republics it used to control in the days of the USSR.
Like Germany marching into the Rhineland to test Western resolve, followed by Czechoslovakia and then Poland, Russia is testing the West before embarking on a program of conquest that will take a great of blood and steel to turn back again.
If the West does nothing but bandy empty words when Russian troops are in Georgia, it will have to decide whether to speak up when those same troops are in the Ukraine or in Latvia or in Poland. Sooner or later the West must find its voice and by then the cost of speaking up will be much higher and it will take more than words or threats to turn back the Russian bear, it will take great sacrifices, sacrifices that the same West which shudders at a few thousand dead in Afghanistan and Iraq and thinks the cost of fighting Iran to be unthinkable, is hardly prepared for.
But the cost of releasing the bear will have great consequences that cannot be wished away by wishful thinking. Russia as a world power in full rampage mode is not only a threat to its neighbors but to the world as well. The Russian project will not end at the border of Georgia nor at the Polish border, nor for that matter at the German border. Putin has maddened the Russian people with nationalistic dreams of a Greater Russia reborn and of a national manifest destiny for Russia that brings it into direct conflict with America and England. Long after Europe has grown tamed it will find that Russia still has the drive and the power to conquer and rule and the same governments that have been unable to say Boo to Ahmed when he is raping their sister will have to decide if they can stand up to the new horde when it reaches the gates of Vienna for the second time in over 60 years.