By Richard Lister

August 14, BBC News

"This is not 1968," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emphatically at a Washington news conference, "where Russia can threaten a neighbour, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it."

Things, she said, have changed.

Certainly, the US had very few options for countering Russian tanks when they rumbled into Prague almost exactly 40 years ago.

But the present crisis suggests there is no easy solution for the West this time either.

On a whole range of issues now, from the "War On Terror" to missile proliferation, to the nuclear threat from Iran, the US has been doing its utmost - over many years - to strike a partnership with Moscow.

Throw in Russia's growing wealth, influence and confidence and American threats to isolate Moscow begin to sound a bit hollow.

So, for now, the broader question of US-Russian relations is being put to one side, while officials from the president down focus on how to contain the trouble in Georgia.

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photo: Russia has deployed thousands of soldiers to the region (AP)