"The United States spent 45 years working very hard to avoid a military confrontation with Russia," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last week. "I see no reason to change that approach today."
That may have been as close as U.S. officials come to admitting that no one is capable of doing anything to stop Russia's invasion of Georgia. Unfortunately, that is precisely the situation - and it is why Russian tanks continue to advance, despite claims they are complying with a truce.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin is well aware that the United States is involved too heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan to make even a credible threat. He also knows that European members of NATO have no stomach for a confrontation.
Many vow to punish Moscow will be made during coming weeks. The reality is that Georgia was written off years ago, when those who warned that Russia remained a threat even after the Soviet Union's collapse were ignored.