"In retrospect, the big question that needs to be asked is whether the entire Ukraine crisis didn’t turn out to be ultimately a botched-up ‘color revolution’. The US got in their man in power in Kiev to replace the ousted government – Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk – but at what enormous cost and of what avail? The principal strategic objective of establishing US military presence in Crimea and vanquishing Russia’s Black Sea Fleet altogether (which Catherine the Great had established in 1783) couldn’t be realized. The successor regime in Kiev is indeed under American thumb but is unable to stabilize the situation. Meanwhile, the agenda of getting Ukraine into the EU and NATO got frustrated. Ukraine itself is irrevocably split and its economy is in free fall. The IMF’s painful therapy may only aggravate the socio-economic tensions leading eventually to a popular uprising."
I think that M K Bhadrakumar is up to something here.
Ever since the Bushmen wrecked the train with their harebrained idea to remake Iraq and the Middle East proper, the US had their hands full with juggling with the wreckage and their various surges in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the wake of Bush's eventual and inevitable withdrawal from Iraq, they consequently suffered from a lack of leverage in the Middle East and a lack of relevance frankly.
Being preoccupied with the Middle East, the US weren't very present or active in Europe, nor were they really missed. Europe was preoccupied with the economic crisis and itself. The security situation was settled. NATO was business as usual, a habit more than a necessity.
The vaccuum left by Bush in the Middle East had allowed Russia to fill in, and they seized the opportunity to play a more active role in the Middle East. Russia held a prominent position in the negotiations with Iran. Their leverage allowed them to negotiate the Syria Chemical weapons compromise, skillfully thwarting State Department supported war plans. The US assented to the deal - after all it spared Obama an unpoular and messy war - but grumbled* and would not let that stand.
I think that what was basically the latest in a string of skillfull Russian foreign policy coups at US expense in effect triggered a rabid US counter-reaction to Russia's assertiveness. The Hegemon wanted to get rid of that hassle some meddler crossing his designs and cut Russia down to size.
I believe that the US had identified as the means by which the Russians projected their power: (a) access to the Mediterranean, (b) through the Iran negotiations and (c) the leverage given to Russia by their energy exports into Europe and (d) their relations with Cuba. They chose to attack all four.
An additional bonus was that (e) they would make NATO relevant to Europe again.