The centuries-old Russian character has not yet mellowed.
Bullies can be tackled either with a bloody nose or by enlightening them that they are increasing , not reducing, their insecurity.
We have the mechanism, but not the will, for the former, and we have the will, but very undeveloped mechanisms, for the latter.
Saddam and Gadaffi got the nose-job.
South Africa got the enlightenment (from Mandela).
Our last mega-bully was Henry VIII. (again insecurity).
Enlightenment only comes from enlightened leaders (coming from an enlightened populace (sometimes)).
The past is there to learn from, but it usually takes many lessons. The middle-east has had all of recorded history, over 4,000 years.