Vladimir Putin says, "War has started," as he sends troops into a separationist province of U.S. ally Georgia. If Bush really saw into Putin's soul, he should have seen this coming. Granted it doesn't sound like Georgia's just an innocent victim. The fighting is in the province of South Ossetia (which 95% of American adults can find on a map, given Google Maps and about a month) which has been essentially autonomous since the late '90s and wants to unify with North Ossetia, which is part of Russia. but which the new Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili (a household name in the U.S. because the U.S. media does such a bangup job of covering world affairs) apparently insists on forcibly reunifying.
I don't know about you, but I find a slight irony in the idea of a breakaway republic objecting to a breakaway province. Apparently Saakashvili (like Abe Lincoln) is irony challenged.
But apparently most South Ossetians have Russian citizenship, so Saakashvili should have known Russia would come to their defense.
So we have one leader who Bush thinks--or did think--was a good buddy, and another leader who's a close ally of the U.S. It seems as though Bush migh have put some effort into averting conflict here, but apparently he was distracted by trying to figure out how he could justify invading Iran (hell, Afghanistan's a mess, Iraq wasn't going so well, third time's the charm, right?).
OK, all a bit snide, but seriously, this is a fairly major foreign policy fuckup by the Bush administration. A resurgent and militarily successful Russia is not in U.S. interests, but by standing by with his dick in his hands, Bush appears to have been caught wholly offguard.