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.
Whether all these figures are anti-heroes, or in some cases something else entirely, is an interesting question. As is the question of why anti-heroes are so important in quality television. Short form answer is that they match the times. It's a mostly cynical and sour era, with little faith in institutions or, generally speaking, leaders.
Even though Putin lectured Obama at length, after forcing him to come to his dacha outside Moscow, about Russia's concerns, with a very special emphasis on Ukraine, the reality that the administration had to deal not with a nice ally and potential buddy but a tough guy with very clearly defined limits did not sink in.