And the second and far bigger log is how Putin cynically exploited NATO’s expansion closer to Russia’s borders to rally Russians to his side to cover for his huge failure of leadership. Putin has utterly failed to build Russia into an economic model that would actually attract its neighbours, not repel them, and inspire its most talented people to want to stay, not get in line for visas to the West. We need to look at both of these logs. Most Americans paid scant attention to the expansion of NATO in the late 1990s and early 2000s to countries in Eastern and Central Europe like Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, all of which had been part of the former Soviet Union or its sphere of influence. It was no mystery why these nations would want to be part of an alliance that obligated the U.S. to come to their defence in the event of an attack by Russia, the rump successor to the Soviet Union.