The widening Georgian Crisis warrants a serious response from the West. In frank terms, this may mean putting our troops at risk.
The immediate start of this Crisis did not need any particular response from the West. Last Thursday, the Georgian government made a sudden military move in the disputed and separatist province of South Ossetia.
Russia, sponsor of the ethnic Ossetians, stepped in. It was not a surprise that Russia did so swiftly, and with deathly force; after all, Russia has in place plans and capacity to deal with crises in every of its neighbouring states. And Russia, arguably, has a legitimate interest in not having unstable provinces on its border.
Unsurprisingly, separatists in the other northern disputed province, Abkhazia, then sought to capitalise from the Crisis. Again, Russia intervened, though with less good reason.
Had the Crisis remained at this point, then the West perhaps could have stood fairly easy. After all, the Georgians had seemingly "started it" last Thursday. And Russia stepping into the two disputed provinces was not an overtly aggressive act against the West.
But it did not stop there. And, in fact, the Crisis did not really start last Thursday. Since July Russia has being building up pressure on Georgia. Russian aircraft have been invading Georgian airspace and Russia has been developing links with the separatists. True, Georgia made a silly false step; but, if it had not done that, it appears that some other pretext may have been used.
Today the Crisis has substantially widened beyond the two disputed provinces. It seems Georgia itself, a democracy allied with the West, is under fierce assault.
If Russia, using the cover of the two disputed provinces, is mounting an attack on Georgia, the position for the West changes profundly.
This not only because Georgia is an independent democracy, but because it is a key strategic ally for the West, not least with its important oil pipeline and its border with NATO member Turkey.
Also, if Georgia falls to an expansionist Russia, then there is no reason why the Ukraine would not be next, and so on.
Accordingly, Russia has to go at least back to the borders of the two disputed provinces. There is just no reason for Russia to be in Georgia beyond the two disputed provinces.
The West somehow needs to put a peacekeeping force into Georgia unless Russia withdraws, and this may well mean commiting British troops. I do not suggest that this force should go into the two disputed provinces: that would be a Fool's Errand. But the West needs to be a counterweight in Georgia to these unwelcome and uninvited Russian invaders.