There are two hang-overs from the week-long war that still have not cleared up, however. One is the lingering impression in the West, left over from the way that Western media reported the conflict at the time, that the "Russian bear" has turned nasty and expansionist. The other is a promise to Georgia that should never have been made.
So did U.S. presidential candidate John McCain, condemning Russia's "violent aggression" and claiming that "Russian actions, in clear violation of international law, have no place in 21 century Europe." Barack Obama was more circumspect, but in the midst of an election campaign he chose not to expose his flank to the Cold Warriors of the Republican Party by openly challenging their version of events.
The EU commission, whose report has been postponed until next month, will not formally recommend against Georgia joining NATO, but the implication there will also be clear. Nobody really believed that NATO would ever fight World War Three to save Georgia, even it were the innocent victim of Russian aggression, but by attacking Russia Saakashvili got everybody off the hook.