Russia Flexes New Muscle in Georgia

But we've seen this before—30 years ago in Afghanistan
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2008 1:29 PM CDT
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting in Moscow on Monday, Aug. 11, 2008.    (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool )
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(Newser) – Russia's invasion of Georgia is a way for the rejuvenated country to flex its muscles, writes Eugene Rumer in the Washington Post. Bolstered by oil and gas exports, Russia's GDP has surged from $200 billion in 1999 to $1.2 trillion, giving it the economic and military power of the Soviet Union 30 years ago—when it used its wealth to invade Afghanistan.

Now "Russia is riding high, making up for all that was lost in preceding decades" and "US and European leaders are flummoxed by how to punish the rising giant that they also badly need—to feed our oil addiction, to help us cut a deal with Iran, and to go on buying our currency to keep its value from sliding further."