Sam Greene notes in an article for Forbes.com that there are several lessons that the West can take away from observing Russia’s reaction to the Russia-Georgia crisis. First, it has become evident that little has changed in Russia with the arrival of the country's new president, Dmitry Medvedev. Additionally, the weakness of Russia's non-military foreign policy tools have also been made more pronounced. Finally, it has also become clear that the Kremlin has a fundamentally different understanding of how the world works, one that's grounded in an extreme realpolitik that views international relations as a zero-sum game. In this view, trust is a worthless commodity, compromise can bring no added value and a premium is placed on tactical victories.
However, what has also come out of this conflict is that unlike what has recently been alleged, the world is not experiencing a new Cold War. Rather than an attempt to impose its political system on others, today’s chill in U.S.-Russia relations rests on Russia’s belief that what is good for the West is inherently bad for Russia. The West, though, should resist the temptation to jump headlong into a confrontation with Russia. Instead, Western leaders should show that we can gain more from partnership rather than a renewed standoff.