Russia, and especially Putin, have learned quite a bit this past decade and a half in regards to the new rules of geopolitics. Every action taken by the Russians that was criticized by the Americans and the western press was quickly defused with the Russians throwing back into their faces everything that the Americans/Brits have done since the end of the Cold War?
Invasion? Sorry, humanitarian intervention.
Destruction? No, we’re countering ethnic cleansing and genocide conducted by the Georgians.
Regime change? Well, if Hussein had to go, so must Saakashvili.
The USA had to be taken down a notch and that’s exactly what’s happened. But rather than learning a lesson about hypocrisy, the Americans are even more intent on engaging in American exceptionalism, as Cheney, McCain, Rice, and Bush indicate with their poor arguments.
Putin plays chess while Dubya plays checkers.