Putin isn’t as brilliant a strategist as some may put him out to be. His gains in Ukraine, in aggregate, are few, and three main things resulted:
1) a renewed interest in NATO security of Eastern Europe,
2) a tarnished Russian image especially due to the MH17 incident that makes Russia feared but not respected (Russia as a protector of state sovereignty is now a laughingstock), and
3) economic pressures from both outside (sanctions that affect Russia’s economy and make it inward-facing, such as Europe’s renewed interest in securing their natural gas e.g. from US not Russia) and inside (Russian entrepreneurs and executives who are now being sanctioned that are putting pressure on the Kremlin.)
It’s undone so much of Russia’s image-building and whatnot such as Sochi.
Very interesting. The situation seems to have definitely backfired, especially since it has scared Western nations and tarnished its image. Economic factors could be fulcrums/wedges, which I think is the most salient point here. If Russia wants to succeed, its economy must, and that forces them to at least comply with the international order since the West still holds the cards. Might not be good in the long run, but if it prevents rogue states from doing these outlandish actions, maybe that’s necessary.