Putin begins massive army buildup on Ukraine border. He invaded Georgia (the country, not the state – my great-grandfather participated in the latter event) in 2008 and watched to see what Europe and the United States would do. The answer was, nothing”, so he bided his time. He’s watched as the U.S. has caved on Syria, Iran and China’s claims to the eastern Pacific and knows precisely what we’ll do with this, his next step in restoring the Russian Empire: nothing.
Weakness invites mischief. When the President of the last remaining western military power begins his first term in office with a world-wide apology tour, cuts the military to a size and weakness not seen before WWII, decimates his combat generals’ ranks in a purge that would have done Stalin proud, and proclaims that we can no longer expect to exert military dominance over the world, it’s no shock that other countries see their opportunities and move in.
I’ve recommended Churchill’s “The Gathering Storm”, which recounts in great detail Hitler’s cautious testing of the tolerance of his more powerful neighbors in small steps until, satisfied that there would be no military response, he moved on Czechoslovakia and finally, Poland – I recommend it again. I’m sure Putin and his generals have already studied it.