It is fashionable for U.S. politicians to flatter Vladimir Putin.
Lindsey Graham does it: "Putin is doing a very good job of suppressing Democratic movements."
Sarah Palin does it: "People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans."
But according to one global analyst, the clever, invincible Vladimir Putin has stepped in it this time.
Vladimir Putin insists he invaded Ukraine to protect the Ukrainian people from extremist thugs. We know that's a lie. But I think there are people who assume that since he wrestles bears and since he's former KGB he has outfoxed us with his evil super powers. But could it that in fact he's not so clever?
CBS' Anthony Mason talked with Willis Sparks a global analyst with the Eurasia Group.
"The idea that the Russians are going to win Ukrainian hearts and minds anytime for the forseeable future is pretty much out of the question at this point, so arguably what have the Russians gained? They've shaken their fist at the west, but in terms of the long-term goal, it's hard to see how this serves Russian interests."
He recommended that we immediately make a deal to pay off Ukraine's debt.
"It's not about punishing Russia, it's about helping the Ukrainian government because frankly, that is what the Russians are really worried about."
Which of course would move Ukraine further from Russia, not closer. As for Europe:
"The Europeans don't want a direct confrontation because Europe draws 28 percent of its natural gas from Russia," said Sparks.
But suppose this ends up giving Europe a wake-up call, a little incentive to get fracking and start producing their own Putin-free natural gas. Putin would learn, as we ourselves have learned, that even when you think you're doing a country a favor by occupying it, you come to find that the people who live there don't necessarily feel that way.
Welcome to the jungle.