In 1941 the Japanese executed a surprise attack on the US in the Hawaiian Islands. This attack had been planned months, perhaps even years earlier and in the lead up to the actual attack the Japanese had made overtures of seeking a peaceful solution to the situation in the Far East even though they continued to militarily overtake areas of China and the Indochina Peninsula. In 1938 Hitler agreed to peace if he was given the Sudetenland in September after having marched his troops into what had been an independent Austria in March. He agreed to “Peace in our time” as Neville Chamberlain proclaimed it: But it was not peace, it was simply the magician preparing for his next trick which would be the Nonaggression Pact (aka the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement) with the Soviet Union and the partition of Poland between the two dictatorships.
As I have noted before, true diplomacy requires two or more honest participants. While such negotiations may sometimes occur the Soviet Union (aka Russia) has seldom allowed such agreements to get in the way of doing what they want. The reader must remember that Vladimir Putin is a product of the Soviet Union and not an independent Russia. He trained in the “Old School,” as we might say, and he certainly acts like he wants to get the old band back together (aka the Soviet Union) under the flag of a Russian Empire.
So, you need to ask yourself: while the posturing on the border is occurring what is the other hand doing? This is why competent intelligence services are required and why politicians make terrible analysts. Politicians will always begin an analysis backwards by using as a measuring stick of actions those things in which they are most interested. They do not necessarily consider the things that are most important. And, of course, the first thing every politician will consider is how to look good to the public while doing little to nothing about the actual situation, because actions have consequences. They will talk but will they act?
True spy work is like being a magician (see my short story “Eyes” in “Spies, Assassins and Such”) and one hand is always preparing the next trick while the other hand is showing you things that aren’t important and the verbal patter is keeping you listening to inane remarks. SO, What’s the other hand doing?