Like a lot of people, I was startled by Russia's invasion of Georgia. It is clear at this point that this was blatant aggression on the part of the Russians. But it also has revealed great weakness on the part of the Russian military. Their bombers can't hit their targets. Several aircraft were shot down by what is in essence a third rate Georgian military. Command control is weak or non-existent. This last point may be a deliberate excuse for legally sanctioned looting.
We are at a time when several new oil fields are coming on line in north-east Asia. One of the big problems is that there is little infrastructure in place to move that oil out to the rest of the world. Russia would like to leverage all that oil by forcing these countries to move it out through Russia. Georgia is one of the few good alternatives to shipping oil through Russia.
What could be done? The Russian military is still of poor quality. If we were to unleash our air power over Georgia we could eliminate all Russian air power and armor in the region. We would lose few if any aircraft. The cost would be largely the expenditure of munitions. It would probably work out to a million dollars per Russian aircraft shot down. So it would not be cheap. But if we were to stop Putin now, it would be cheaper than a larger war down the line.
Putin is an aggressor, little different than Hitler, Napoleon or other aggressors of the past. Aggressors are always bullies. If you stand up to them, they usually prove to be far weaker than they appear.