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Regarding Ukraine...

The western alliance has missed an opportunity to become more deeply engaged in Ukraine over the past five-years, therefore affording Russia the ease and opportunity to meddle elsewhere. 

When Ukraine's youth gathered at the Maidan in late 2013 and into early 2014 to explicitly expressed their desire to be closer to Europe - hereby dismissing a soviet-era allegiance to Moscow, high aspirations were cast that Ukraine would soon realize its manifested westernization. 

However, today, almost five-years after liberty-loving youths chased the corrupt Kremlin-loving Viktor Yanukovych from power, it appears that those Ukrainian dreams to join Europe, are now deferred.

Western dreams in Ukraine have been deferred not by any desire of the Ukrainian people, but via a failure of the west to engage Vladimir Putin and Russia within and surrounding Ukraine. A bad-tasting reality of years of an ill-conceived war in Iraq, restricted substantive action from the west in Ukraine. 

As a result of inaction by the west, Crimea has been annexed by Putin, who has since built a new bridge linking the Ukrainian territory to Russia. Strong Kremlin influences remain prevalent within Ukraine governance as corruption remains rampant. 

Many of Ukraine's youth who braved the natural elements of the winter of 2013-14 to stand on the Maidan in a cry for help and for westernization, have now lost hope of ever achieving their ambitions to join Europe and to shrug off Russia.

The failure of the west to effectively press Russia on Ukraine has resulted in Vladimir Putin having time and opportunity for excursions into Syria and his trolling of the seas and air spaces in the Nordics, in the Baltics as well as transcending to the English Channel and off the coast of the Americas.

Had Putin been properly engaged in Ukraine, the Syrian war could have ended by now and Ukrainians could have been closer to their manifested destiny to be closer to Europe.

But Putin has successfully distracted the western alliance, thus Ukraine is split and Crimea has been lost as the European-dream of Ukraine, remains a fantasy.