If there’s one lesson everyone with a college degree learned from history about the 20th century—one lesson—it’s that Hitler was bad, and we made him bad by rolling over for him and not stopping him when he was too weak to do anything about it. Part of that desire to empower Hitler came from a long, deep-seated mistrust of Russia—fear and dislike of communism, and a notion that it would be better to avoid fighting a war ourselves, if others could do it for us. We learn that in some cases, doing nothing to stop a dictator or tyrant actually encourages them to greater depravity, until they become so reckless and bold that they consider the unthinkable, overreach, and start a war that ends (necessarily, but especially so in the age of nuclear weapons) badly for everyone. That’s the path we’re putting ourselves on, now, and what I’ve just said is that it’s almost every politician with a chip on the foreign policy table’s fault.
To make things a bit clearer, I believe that we should send substantial troops into Ukraine and Georgia, and tell Putin that we won’t accept his bullying and braggadocio. He’s a bully—which means he’s a coward—so he won’t do anything about it. Our air and land capabilities—Army and Air Force—are about ten years ahead of Russia’s, and the ranks are stacked with capable combat leaders. Putin knows this, and would not dare getting his most precious resource (the few Russian front-line units worth anything) mauled by our better-equipped and better-trained forces. If he knows that we’ll fight him, he’ll back away from a fight. If he’s not sure, he’ll gamble that we won’t. Right now, He knows we won’t, and is doing what he likes, as he likes.