Vladimir Putin's power grab in Ukraine isn't a singular case of revanchism by Moscow. Ambitious states like China — long unhappy with aspects of the status quo in Asia — are watching Mr. Putin and learning how to test their neighbors' resolve.
While perceptions of Western irresolve or weakness don’t necessarily create conditions of instability by themselves, their real danger is that they make aggressive opportunism seem a more attractive path for revanchists like Putin or revisionist powers like Beijing.
The military has been forced to take a "six of one, half dozen of the other" approach that leaves it with no clarity as to its real future sizing or posture, and is unclear how to best reshape itself to deal with new threats.
On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry is leaving for his fifth visit to Asia since taking office last year. The White House continues to believe that merely showing up is 90 percent of success. This Woody Allen approach has worn thin with countries looking at Washington's continuing refusal to confront China head-on over its increasingly coercive behavior.