Well, I am not Putin, so I can’t read his mind. Mais, si la tendance se maintient, we have to fast forward to the next few targets, such as Hokkaido or Alaska, both small enough to lose for US. Well, it won’t be that easy, because both will end up with major local conflicts that will simply require too much military buildup beforehand, too easy to be spotted from space at an early stage. You know, if your enemy can tell your attack 3 months ahead of time, you may as well just give up early. So far, Putin is trying very hard to look like a good guy, using very good excuses in both Crimea and Syria. If he actually attacks Hokkaido or Alaska, he will have a hard time finding a good excuse. Besides, both moves will prove to be too risky, as a World War III will prove to be too real at that stage.
So, what will Putin do? There are not too many options. After all, there are not too many territorial disputes between Russia and its neighbors. Putin is old, so he will want to see Russia restore its glory before he dies. The West is still alienating Russia, so the world dare not join them lest they be labeled as friends of Russia too early. The UN assembly may prove to be too disappointing for both US and Russia. Putin is not happy, obviously.
World wealth distribution matters. Russia’s European root matters. Given that EU is bigger than US economically, chances are he will get back to his drawing board and see if he can earn a few brownie points with them. It’s not only about lifting the sanctions, but also about making US lose a few key friends.
Don’t worry, because Putin is still sensible enough to know Russia cannot afford to be a bad guy. Maybe he can, but Russia cannot.
Maybe this is what US is thinking given their inaction other than a few speeches. Well, they are a good gambler. In fact, they may as well simply announce to the world that time is their best friend. They are just waiting for Putin to die a natural death.