We ought to apologize to Ukraine.

It is a casualty of our weakness.

When the world’s guard dog is shown over and over to be a paper tiger, no one fears either its bark or its bite.

And Ukrainians have paid with their independence, their liberty and, I fear before this is over, their lives.

Strength assures peace and weakness invites attack and so a couple of weeks ago, the Russian Empire rolled its tanks into Crimea. There was no charge of the Light Brigade, no battle between Christians and Muslims, no battle between Catholic and Orthodox, no nibbling at the edge of the Ottoman Empire.

No, this time Crimea changed hands because the United States of America has lost its might and its nerve. For half a century we safeguarded Europe from Russian expansionism by the mass of our forces and the resolve of our leaders.

But we don’t have any leaders and we’ve gutted our forces.

We’ve had three administrations and four secretaries of Defense who’ve told us the days of taking and holding territory are past, that advancing tanks are obsolete and that army on army fighting is gone and should be forgotten.

But Putin begs to differ.

The man whose Syrian surrogate has uncorked poison gas on his own people thinks that a few thousand guys in light armor are a pretty convincing trump card. Mass 60,000 men, have the tanks row on row, ready to roll, and pretty much nobody is going to tell you what to do.

It used to be the Russian bear was kept in his den by the fear of staring into the barrel of the United States Army. Today the United States Army is being cut to pre-World War II levels and has been redeployed to Afghanistan to build schools and kiss arse.

The American military has been spanked by thugs in Iraq and goat herders in Afghanistan. We’ve been held back and worn down by inadequate equipment and gutless rules of engagement. Soulless enemies and brainless superiors, and here we are.

The laughingstock of half the world.

Russia challenges us, China finds us contemptuous, piss ant Venezuela mocks us, and Crimea falls.

And we impose sanctions.

Paper threats against the assets of a handful of people whose assets we have no access to. Our guy fills out basketball brackets and their guy conquers neighboring countries. Our guy shoots balls, their guys has balls.

And if I was Ukraine or Poland, newly promised by the vice president of the United States that “we have their back,” I would be shaking in my boots.

If America promises to protect you, you better start learning Russian.

While our government was busy fighting to shorten the sentences of drug dealers, promote gay marriage and outlaw football, the rest of the world was looking on in contempt, seeing both pathos and opportunity.

And Putin has seized that opportunity.

Obama’s America has abdicated its place in the world, disarming unilaterally and scuttling as much of its society as it can. We have fewer jobs and more debt, less freedom and greater social dysfunction. Entitlement has replaced liberty as our basic right and philosophy. Welfare is mandatory, national defense is optional, and Putin knew we lacked either the means or the will to stop his adventurism in Ukraine. He’s getting the old gang back together and they’re going to start touring. I’ll be surprised if we don’t see the hammer and sickle make a comeback.

And it will be our fault.

Because Putin isn’t a new species of cockroach. His kind has been around from the dawn of time. We’ve smashed bigger bugs than him under the toe of our shoe while out on a Sunday walk.

He has taken Crimea in an essentially bloodless Anschluss, like the good fuehrer he is, and he felt secure in this move because his repeatedly bellicose attitude toward the United States has not been challenged or condemned.

He has tried us and we have failed.

We have proven our weakness.

And weakness invites attack.

And Crimea gets the hit.

While we bluster about sanctions.