Largely an exercise in fantasy, like the longest-running science fiction show on the planet, NATO, since the end of the Soviet superpower erased the Cold War fear of a Red Army surge through the heart of Western Europe to the Bay of Biscay, has been an institution in search of a new mission and an accident waiting to happen.
In the end, the street triumphed over the elite. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych tried to hang on to power, and failed. Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to maintain Russian influence, and failed. The EU tried to mediate, and failed. And the United States tried to... well, I'll get to that in a moment.