Now that Russia has humiliated Georgia with a punishing military offensive, it may shift its attention to reining in pro-Western Ukraine, another American ally in the former Soviet Union. ...Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's first order of business likely will be to try to thwart Ukraine's bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. ...``The Moscow authorities will use this opportunity to remind Ukraine of the damages of allying itself with NATO,'' said Geoffrey Smith at Renaissance Capital investment bank in Kiev. ...The U.S. has long seen Georgia and Ukraine as counterweights to Russia's influence in the region. Opposition leaders in the two countries came to power after U.S.-backed popular protests in 2003 and 2004. Their ascension advanced an American strategy of expanding NATO to include both countries and securing energy routes from the Caspian Sea that bypass Russia. The BP Plc-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey runs through Georgia. ...The future effectiveness of that policy is now in doubt, with Georgia's U.S.-educated president, Mikheil Saakashvili, 40, weakened by a five-day blitz that his American patrons were powerless to halt.