Events have moved along quickly with regard to the Georgia crisis. I get the distinct impression that the neoconservatives are now back-peddling somewhat from their aggressive stance against the Russians as they realise that it could jeopardise their primary commitment to Israel and their push for regime change in Iran. The neocons have quickly realised that the Russians aren’t going to be the pushover they first thought they were going to be. There has been posture and counter posture from both sides but there is only so much posturing the two sides can do without actual confrontation and, since the Russians have the advantage of home turf, the US are now all postured out and the Russians still haven’t budged.
Frederick Kagan writing in the neocon comic, The Weekly Standard, says: “The Cold War isn't back. The Russian attacks on Georgia don't mean American soldiers will soon be staring at Red Army soldiers in the middle of Germany or that U.S. defense spending must triple to match a global Russian military juggernaut.” Kagan even concedes, without actually saying it, that Russia has got the better of the situation; he writes: “American rhetoric about Russia's actions has been strong but has not deterred Putin from pushing even harder.” The reality is that while American rhetoric maybe aggressive, there is nothing they can do if Russia, as it has, digs its heels in and effectively tells the US to get knotted. Had the Russians backed off as the US demanded, the neocons and the Bush administration would have felt more confident in resuming their stance against Iran but since the Russians haven’t backed off the neocons and the administration have now found that it is they that need to back off from confrontation with Russia. Failure to do so could otherwise completely alienate the Russians and push them into the Iranian camp whereby the Iranian nuclear issue becomes part of the rhetoric in the standoff between the US and Russia – something the neocons and the Bush administration would be keen to avoid at all costs.
As the window of opportunity continues to close the countdown to a Final Confrontation with Iran is still ticking though the US and Israel are going to find it very difficult to get the regime change they need in Iran with the Russians breathing down their necks in anger.