Putin is challenging the post-Cold War status quo nearly unopposed. He's claimed the outrageous right to intervene in other country's business if the people happen to speak Russian!! Naturally most of the freed Soviet states speak Russian!! He's claimed that Kiev is the one creating problems in the Ukraine, but it's Russians who are there fomenting trouble. He's even denied that there are Russian forces in Crimea!! It's like we're back to Stalinist Russia complete with the outrageous lies!
Putin is a Stalinist, a dictator and a murderer. He clearly wants to re-draw borders and bring back the "glory" of the Soviet Union, despite the fact that all of the breakaway countries desperately want to get as far away from Russia as possible. Putin is the closest thing to a Hitler in the West. (Kim Jong Un is the Hitler of the East).
And like Hitler, if he is stopped early than we can avoid a larger conflict -- even avoid a war. But we're seeing weak-kneed leaders everywhere including Obama and the Europeans. All have ruled-out force to stop Putin's militarism. Putin will be emboldened by this. Europe, the bloodiest place in human history during the past 100 years, still hasn't learned the lessons of the cost of appeasing dictators! The US could move troops, ships and military assets into Eastern Europe and Ukraine in a few days if they wanted to. Assets could be deployed to secure the Baltic states. Instead, we have Obama stuck in his typical bureaucratic paralysis and indecision. Obama has a problem dealing with reality: it keeps hitting him on the head but he just doesn't get it! This goes for all of his thinking and ideas -- he's wrong about everything but never learns anything. It amounts to a mental illness.
The US military assets dwarf Russia's on the international stage. The US controls international banking and has led successful economic embargoes against Iran by shutting down bank's access to international transactions and money transfers. These are formidable weapons. What we don't have is leaders with courage, intelligence and knowledge of history.
Where are the speeches by Obama or Merkel publicly challenging the outrageous claim that Russia has a right to "protect" Russian speakers everywhere?? It MUST be challenged by a unified West. Obama had better get off his ass and get "real" about Putin's intentions instead of standing around like a deer in the headlights. If not, expect some kind of low grade war, more trouble-making in Eastern Europe and possibly outright war.