Russia immediately began threatening its other neighbors. A top Russian diplomat ominously warned Monday that Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland would "pay" for criticizing Russia's "imperialist" policy toward Georgia.
Coupled with the eerily jingoistic opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics -- where China sent the message in no uncertain terms that it intends to be a force to be reckoned with -- it's clear that we're entering a new era in foreign affairs. What's disturbing is that countries who are clearly hostile to liberty and the concept of natural rights as the West understands them feel comfortable enough -- for whatever reason -- to make their ambitions obvious.
Those who have criticized a relatively muscular American approach to foreign policy might want to consider whether Russia, at this point, seems to be the kind of country that would be amenable to a soft approach, the "diplomacy" that some on the left have urged. Or whether China -- should it ever have the means and the opportunity -- will feel restricted in its actions by concerns over "world opinion."
Watching both countries, it's hard to believe, as much as all of us would like to.
Update: Is there really anyone who believes -- as Bill Richardson apparently argued on CNN -- that things like the Russian invasion wouldn't happen if Barack were president because "a President Obama would have a good strong relationship with Russia"? That's the whole problem with the lefty view of foreign policy -- that there really are no threatening people or countries out there, just "misunderstood" ones, looking for friendship and comfort. Riiiiight.