Looking at this and any future potential conflicts through the lens of 20th Century Cold War is misguided at best.
No matter what we may have been led to believe, contemporary and complex state actors are not motivated by the impulses of single individuals whether they are Tzars for life, "senile" Presidents or evening news buffoons.
It is now time to reconfigure who is going to get access to remaining oil and gas deposits and infrastructure on the planet while climate change starts to severely limit energy access and consumption.
Russians are not interested in stamping "Made in Russia" on the bottom of plastic iPhone covers but are interested in securing their Eastern border by promising energy and food to China, spreading influence by selling arms to India and securing their presence in the Middle East with their hold on Syria and approchement with Iran.
Europe is becoming a huge security (and energy) liability for the US.
So is Turkey.
The Pentagon, the largest institutional consumer of oil is 10 times larger than the next military and consumes that much more energy.
Martin is right. Time is on Russia side's (24% of the worlds natural gas + 17 % in Iran not to mention oil reserves)
The US can no longer expect to project power globally indefinitely. It can not confront Russia in Europe while simultaneously containing China, maintaining access to ME oil, defend continental Europe, suppress democracies of and exploit the mineral wealth South America and secure Arctic oil.
That is why Putin is making his move, not because he is some sort of Crazy Rasputin/Tzar Nicholas hybrid.