WASHINGTON -- With President Bush warning Russia that its push into Georgia could jeopardize relations with the U.S. and Europe, the administration signaled Monday that any retribution would be aimed at the Russian economy and prestige.
Russia's pummeling of Georgian troops has left Washington with few palatable military options, said administration officials who requested anonymity when discussing internal policy decisions. Acknowledging that military aid to Georgia was off the table and sanctions against Russia were impractical, they insisted the U.S. could take longer-term economic and diplomatic measures that would hit the Kremlin hard.
"Just because we are not rushing to place U.S. infantry in Tbilisi does not mean the world is impotent in the face of this aggression," said a senior Pentagon official.
Officials said the most likely ways to pressure Russia were through global institutions. Russia is attempting to join the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Membership now is likely to be blocked, they said.