A good place to start.

Namely, in trying to understand US dissembling about Russia, just factor into your thinking that there’s zero Russian advantage to invading Ukraine; all the rest is just manufactured hysteria. Moreover, note the complete absence from NATO and State Department maneuvering over eastern Europe of even the slightest recognition of any legitimate Russian interest in keeping hostile actors somewhere other than on its very borders.

We’ll decide what your interests are, Russian peasants. Pay not attention to these nuclear-capable cruise missiles out by your mailbox. This is just us providing the “leadership” for which the world yearns. You may pound sand.

Instead of a real military threat from Russia and China, the problem for American strategists is the absence of such a threat. All countries have come to realize that the world has reached a point at which no industrial economy has the manpower and political ability to mobilize a standing army of the size that would be needed to invade or even wage a major battle with a significant adversary. That political cost [reality?] makes it uneconomic [unwise?] for Russia to retaliate against NATO adventurism prodding at its western border trying to incite a military response. It’s just not worth taking over Ukraine.[1]

Nor is there slightest advantage to Russia in taking over a basket case like Ukraine.

Where the US starts is from the unshakeable position that “we” have a vital interest in expanding NATO eastward in order to prevent Putin from recreating the USSR and dominating eastern Europe as in the good old days. However, every day that passes it’s clear that the US is re-enacting Woody Allen’s classic lobster scene with the new woman in “Annie Hall.” The US absolutely refuses to get over itself and its awesomeness and move on to just being one of a multitude of nations on the planet. Our fiscal, monetary, and economic stupidity will ensure that that epiphany lights up the odd Deep State skull in the US soon enough. But that’s another story.

[1] “America’s Real Adversaries Are Its European and Other Allies.” By Michael Hudson, The Unz Review, 2/7/22.