Condoleezza Rice stated on August 18: NATO must “deny Russian strategic objectives, which are clearly to undermine Georgia's democracy, to use its military capability to damage and in some cases destroy Georgian infrastructure and to try and weaken the Georgian state.”
Eastern European countries have largely followed America’s line, fearing that a resurgent Russia is once again a direct threat to their interests.
In contrast a group of west European countries, notably France, Germany and Italy, is anxious to avoid greater confrontation with Russia. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, strongly criticised Russia’s actions this weekend, even as she stood beside Mr Medvedev in Sochi, a Russian coastal resort near to Georgia. She said that Russia’s response to Georgia’s (ill-considered) attack on South Ossetia was both “disproportionate” and “unreasonable.” But German dependence on energy from the east - roughly half of the 80 billion cubic metres of gas consumed in Germany each year are now piped from Russia - encourages others, such as her foreign minister and the former chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, to seek a more emollient line. Mr Schröder told Der Spiegel this week that Europe should “maintain a strong relationship with Russia”, adding that “there is not a single critical problem in world politics or the global economy that could be solved without Russia.” … Economist.com