This is Debka’s conclusion, by the way, and I don’t disagree with their analysis:
This is Moscow’s payback for the US-NATO success in detaching Kosovo from Serbia and approving its independence. It is also a warning to Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia against joining up with the United States and the NATO bloc in areas which Moscow deems part of its strategic sphere of influence
After seizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia, four follow-up Russian steps may be postulated:
1. The two separatist provinces will proclaim their independence, just like Kosovo.
2. Russia will continue to exercise its overwhelming military and air might to force the pro-American Saakashvili’s capitulation.
3. The Georgian president will not survive in office long after losing two regions of his country and national humiliation. Moscow aims to make Washington swallow a pro-Russian successor.
4. Moscow’s trampling of Georgia will serve as an object lesson for Russia’s own secessionist provinces such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushettia not to risk defying Russian armed might.
Another important lesson: Vladimir Putin has a long memory and is very patient. Never underestimate a man who can wait silently for years and then strike like lightning when the oppportunity presents itself.