(Original post by cbreef)
And look what happened. Sanctions crippled the Russian economy.
No, the fall in the price of oil has crippled the Russian economy; the effect the Western sanctions have had on the economy has been blown out of proportion, especially the EU-imposed sanctions, which were more noise than anything else due to the energy interdependence between Europe and Russia.
Considering Trump's talk about improving relations with Russia, I imagine there's a good chance the sanctions will be lifted, and the EU will follow suit.
Either way, Putin annexed a territory the size of Belgium, with 2.2m people, his approval ratings soared, and he finally acquired a permanent warm water naval base for the Black Sea Fleet - I'd say he did pretty well.
Lastly, and to your original point, if there has ever been a time to go to war for land or resources, in particular, it is now because the planet is running out of oil, water, rare earth minerals, et cetera. Let me ask you this: Why do you think the great and middle powers were/are fighting for in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?