Fresh off his trip to Beijing, U.S. President George Bush delivered a terse message to Russia: Get out of Georgia now.
"Russia's government must respect Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty," Bush said in a short statement from the White House. "Russia's actions this week have raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region.
"(Russia's) actions have substantially damaged its reputation in the world."
Bush demanded an immediate ceasefire, which Georgia has already agreed to, and that Russian troops withdraw from the war zone.
But many analysts believe that Bush's hands are effectively tied by his "lame duck" presidency status, and even more so by a "no win" political situation.
"When one country conquers another that is typically regarded as pretty serious, and the inability to do anything about it is something the United States is not accustomed to," said Stephen Sestanovich, an expert on Russia and Eurasia at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Associated Press.
Georgia became a close ally of the U.S. following the collapse of the Soviet Republic, but the Bush administration is willing to send little more than words of support against the Russian tank columns rolling through the country.