It's very bizarre to read the neocons' speaking about Russia as if the Soviet Union were still in existence. Here's a classic slice of the mindset from Max Boot, who wants a third little war in the Caucasus:
It should be no surprise that Russian spokesmen are masters of the Big Lietheir Soviet predecessors practically invented the technique.
Condi Rice, who really should know better, said:
"This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten a neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed."
Yes, things have changed: the Soviet Union no longer exists. Wasn't the entire point of the Cold War that totalitarian expansionist states are different than authoritarian ones? Are we now going to elide this Kirkpatrick distinction when it comes to Russia? Putin is not a saint; and his attitude is Cheney-esque in his fondness for secrecy, brute force and contempt for international law. But he is not a communist and he is not attempting to take over the world. The West fought the Cold War based on this distinction. Why should we forget it now it's over?