JERUSALEM, Israel -- While the Ukrainian crisis pits the United States, Europe, and the West against Vladimir Putin's Russia, Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East are also watching closely.
A number of observers here in Israel believe that U.S. actions for the past several years, particularly in the Middle East, set the stage for the current crisis in Ukraine.
"There's no doubt that severe erosion in the U.S. posture of deterrence and the U.S. power projection throughout the world has triggered a much more audacious and emboldened Russia," former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Congress Yoram Ettinger told CBN News.
Ettinger said perceived weakness in U.S. foreign policy has sent a message to the enemies of Israel and the United States.
"The chief trigger of a more emboldened Russia and more emboldened Iran, China, North Korea, and Venezuela has been the recent engagement by the U.S. with Iran," he explained. "Rogue regimes throughout the world notice the U.S. literally appeasing Iran."
Ettinger believes the world needs a strong United States of America.
"For world sanity, we need a very exceptional U.S.A. We need a very deterring U.S.A. A less exceptional U.S.A., a non-deterring U.S.A., only exacerbates the already [prevalent] insanity in the world," he said.
As the crisis in the Ukraine unfolds, U.S. foreign policy will be put to the test if it can stand up to the new threats in the 21st century.