So why are the Russians packing it in for a 'retrograde maneuver?'
Obviously, the cease-fire agreement did not chase the Russians back into South Ossetia. So what did? The unexpectedly strong American response is most likely responsible for the Russian reconsideration. George Bush went from oddly passive in the first hours of the crisis to angry within days. His order to start military airlifts to provide, ahem, “humanitarian” aid to Georgia probably took Russia by surprise. The EU move to kick Russia out of the G-8, where they don’t belong anyway, may also have gotten Putin’s attention.