Tbilisi, Georgia - Bowing to a withering barrage of pointed criticisms and strongly-worded letters of reprimand from the international diplomatic community, an embarrassed Russian military today abandoned its attack on the former Soviet republic of Georgia late this afternoon and retreated sheepishly over the Caucasus.
"Look, I don't really know what to say - other than, 'hey, our bad,'" said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an awkward, shoe-gazing statement to the United Nations. "Seriously, dude, it just totally wasn't like us to lash out like that. We've been having a couple of bad decades, and I guess we just sort of snapped."
According to Moscow newspaper Pravda, Lavrov and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin left several messages on the voice mail machine of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili offering apologies and help cleaning up the damage from the weekend invasion. Sources say an angry Saakashvili was in no mood for forgiveness.
"Haven't you done enough damage already?" asked a testy Saakashvili, according to a U.S. State Department official. "Just get out. Come on dude, leave."
Russia's embarrassing geopolitical faux pas began over the weekend, just as the world was celebrating the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Friday, several armored divisions of the Russian Army and Air Force found their way into Georgia through an unguarded back door.
"Russia said South Ossetia invited them, to try out some of their pipeline stash," explained a source with the French Foreign Ministry. "I know Russia used to have something going on with Georgia, but nobody thought it was going to turn into a big ugly scene."
Russia's invasion prompted a quick stern response from GOP presidential candidate John McCain, while Democratic candidate Barack Obama urged Russia and Georgia to "work together to iron out their differences," and "chills, y'all." After learning that Georgia was a US ally, Obama clarified the remarks, demanding that Russia withdraw its troops north to Tennessee and West Virginia.
By early Saturday morning, however, Russia's loutish behavior had gotten out of control, and according to some included wearing lampshades and carpet bombing of civilian areas. In response, the US State Department prepared a carefully worded rebuke, reading "Dude, totally not cool," and the UN Security Council issued a special envoy to the region expressing "grave concern" and warning that "come on dude, you're drunk."
The harsh international diplomatic verbal response brought an immediate halt to the Russian firebombing campaign, followed by what observers termed "an uncomfortable silence."
"Everyone was just sort of staring at Russia, who's in the middle of beating the hell out of Georgia, and Russia's like, 'what? Come on man, you have to admit it's funny,'" said a source with UNSCOM. "So Russia's going around, looking for high fives and is like, 'don't leave me hangin', bro,' but the G8 gives him the total gas face, so he's like, 'whatever, dude, this party sucked anyway.'"
As Russia sobered up and began packing up its tanks and bomber groups, the source said it began feeling bad.
"So like Russia's like, 'come on man, you know that wasn't me, it was the vodka,' but the whole Security Council is like, 'Talk to the hand, Russia.' And then Russia's like, 'ummm, maybe I should just go.' Hoo-kay, Russia, whatever."
By the time the first Russian divisions began retreating back over the Caucasus late this afternoon, a reflective Russia was making diplomatic overtures toward atonement, including several whimsical Shoebox Greetings apology cards to the international community.
"Look, I realize we messed up with this Georgia thing," said Lavrov. "We just want to make it good and get this thing behind us, because anybody who knows us knows that we are all about friendship, and keeping our good reputation."
But some inside the diplomatic community say it may take time for Russia to get back on the international A-List.
"It's a shame, because Russia is a such a great guy when he's not drinking and invading neighbors," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "I think it might help if some of us got together and organized an intervention."
For his part Lavrov rejected the idea that his nation had a drinking and invading problem.
"Hey man, we can quit any time we want," he said.