"Zbigniew Brzezinski writing in Foreign Affairs, March/April 1994:
Insurance is needed against the possibility, one might even argue the probability, that the weight of history will not soon permit Russia to stabilize as a democracy, and that the single-minded cultivation of a partnership with Russia, while downgrading other interests, will simply accelerate the reemergence of an ominously familiar imperial challenge to Europe's security. . . .
The crucial issue here, one that might well come to a dramatic head in the course of 1994, is the future stability and independence of Ukraine. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire. American policymakers must face the fact that Ukraine is on the brink of disaster: the economy is in a free-fall, while Crimea is on the verge of a Russia-abetted ethnic explosion. Either crisis might be exploited to promote the breakup or the reintegration of Ukraine in a larger Moscow-dominated framework.
It is urgent and essential that the United States convince the Ukranian government, through the promise of substantial economic assistance, to adopt long-delayed and badly needed economic reforms. At the same time, American political assurances for Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity should be forthcoming."
There is no European Union as a reality --- instead there's only a group of weak sovereigns unable and unwilling to band together for their common defense, security and prosperity.
It's like the early days of the U.S. when the weak Articles of Confederation were in effect and preceded the Constitution. The U.S. was then "ungovernable."
Europe remains "ungovernable" today. They long ago "outsourced" to the U.S. the continuous hard work of securing and maintaining world peace and security.
So here's the deal --- today the current U.S. "leadership" doesn't seem to have a clue about what to do. Talk is cheap.
Thus, Putin bullies and the idea of the Soviet Union, aka USSR, isn't yet dead.
Neither is the Cold War over.
That's my take.