Recent political events in Europe have highlighted the different way western people relate to the same kind of behaviour depending on who is the actor. Georgia, under the impression that they had the US and maybe even NATO watching their back, blew a huge raspberry across the border to Russia, and quickly found out that their 4 million people country didn't rate nearly as highly with the western powers as they had led themselves to believe.
The response in Western media was predictable, and to a reasonably astute observer slightly nauseating. The US, as always, expressed outrage that Russia would dare act in the same way as the US acts. The countries which usually parrot the US response did just that, and the ones with a slightly more nuanced approach to foreign policy treated Russia pretty much like they usually treat the US "world police" actions, and just like when that happens, they pretty much drowned in the outpouring from the US propaganda machine.
It seems pretty clear from the US response that the assault on Georgia was something they expected would happen if Georgia would act as if they had big buddies to call on if things got rough. Whether or not the US deliberately led Georgia on to create this response is an interesting subject for examination and debate, and nothing I will pretend to have answers for right now. But it's clear that the US was ready to use the situation to try to make Russia look like big bullies.
In retrospect, the Russian response was well rehearsed, tempered and to the point. Unlike the Iraq debacle, there was no dismantling of existing power structures with nothing to replace it. Unlike the Chechnya debacle, there was no costly (for both sides) assaults pushing through civilians. The strike was hard, precise and executed with an almost Israeli style blanket of press releases denying what was actually going on. Russia has learned a lot from the disasters the US have walked through recently, and from the way Israel conducts their highly controversial black operations.
And at the end of it all, Russia is not going to face much in the way of consequences. There is no way they can suffer sanctions - they have energy western Europe needs, and the direct consequences of even an economical slap on the hand is more than the EU can handle at this point. The US may be frothing at the mouth (particularly since their Georgian gambit failed), but there is no way they will get anyone with any financial clout behind them in their demands that Russia is punished for acting like the US acts.