(a) the USA (state dept) was profoundly stupid not to bring a weak russia into nato at any cost thereby uniting german technology and russian resources. That is one of the greatest policy errores in history ( which the USA seems to stumble into regularly.)

(b) Putin’s only error (as a resident of Kiev myself) was in using deception of the little green men, insurrection, and propaganda rather than picking up the phone and just speaking the truth “We just can’t allow our don basin tech, and only warm water port out of our influence so we are going to step in, and ask for your support, and pay for this undesirable action with discounted gas to ukraine for 50 years. I will work to help world leaders understand why this was unfortunate necessary for the preservation of the international balance of powers.”

(c) Postwar American policy is trivially simple, but stated morally instead of descriptively:

“This can’t happen again. So:
1) we will work to force states to focus on modernization and joining the world economy, and prohibit territorial expansion, or opposition to that integration of trade.

2) We will work to support self determination to the extent that it does not violate #1 -borders and trade. This will assist in the development of economic integration and limit future wars.

3) BUT if you choose self determination and choose poorly in violation of #1 we will punish you regardless. it is this last “BUT” that Americans don’t state.

But there is nothing in that foreign policy that wasn’t stated by Burke, Smith and Hume.

The USA has a long history of criticizing the “constant wars’ of other countries. But the price of creating the international order is policing contradictions of it. And so the USA became what it despised. Because all empires have no other options. Rule by commerce, rule by violence, rule by deceit (religion).