Moscow Counts the Pros and Cons of "Selective Cooperation" - Eurasia Daily Monitor
Rather cutting analysis of how the US under George Bush has pissed away any semblance of authority or morality in world affairs, and how "selective cooperation" is likely inevitable ... although meaningless to Russia. Russia has its own course (it always has, really) - the difference these days is that Western Europe and Asia are interested in Russia's natural resources, at least as an alternative to their other sources of imports. When Putin says "I know the mood of the G-8 leaders" what he really means is, "we have something the other G-8 leaders want, and we know it".
If Russian petrol won't offer many benefits to the average Russian, it will at least allow the Russian government a tool in international trade and diplomacy. It is an important bargaining chip that they can use to leverage against the old-school thinking of US leaders in the White House and Congress.
This isn't to say that the Russian government strategies are without flaws. Certainly, it has been revealed to the them that attempting diplomacy with Iran, with no threat of reprisals or sanctions, is pointless. Iran will drag and shuffle their feet for years, if need be ... to give the appearence of cooperation while working towards nuclear weapons. However, even with the lack of success with negotiations with Iran, Russia has clearly used its economic resources to drive international diplomacy and policy.
If the US does elect to stay away from the St. Petersburg summit, the G-8 will be the G-7 ... only without the US. The caravan will roll on.