That is the advantage to seeing an issue in intellectual terms. It is possible for people in different moods to reach some sort of common ground. "Losing or winning" an argument in this way can be a partial thing, not an example of unconditional surrender. Nor is it as offensive as being told your side is eeevil.
Let's look at Washington's current policy in the Ukraine in this manner. Let's see it as a parallel with another historical event: the lead-up to the Great War of 1914.
Recall that in August of 2014 the Media took a break from its usual drivel to mention the centenary of the Great War. I was surprised (and pleased) that the American media noticed it at all. By luck a cyclist in my Yuma snowbird bicycle club gave me an excellent book, "The War to End All Peace," by Margaret MacMillan. It is not as pro-British as one would expect. In the chapter "Dreadnought" she wrote about the building tension on the seas:
Thanks to its geography Britain had generally been able to regard the growth of powerful land forces on the Continent with equanimity. It could never do so on the seas. The British navy was at once its shield, its means of projecting its strength and its lifeline to the wider world. Every schoolchild was taught how the navy had seen off the Spanish Armada...and had helped to bring Napoleon down.___________________________________
It was a policy supported not just by the ruling elites but by much of the British public. The British across the political and social spectrum took great pride in their navy...
Tirpitz [ed., the top German admiral], [Kaiser] Wilhelm and their fellow enthusiasts for a big German navy which could challenge Britain's never understood how vitally important the Royal Navy was for the British and that failure of imagination was to cost them, and Europe, dearly.
Could Washington be failing to use the imagination needed to see that Russia considers the Ukraine, Crimea, and Black Sea as being too important to allow the intrusion of NATO and the European Union? There must be somebody in Washington's foreign policy establishment who understands the national mythology of Russia. Of course that doesn't mean that they have any influence.
I only understand the basics of Russian mythology. The story starts with the half-legendary trading voyages and depredations of Swedish Vikings, who used the rivers and portages of today's Russia and Ukraine to get from the Baltic Sea to Constantinople. The Kiev Rus was the first Slavic state, and it was formed on one of those rivers of trade. Eastern Christianity got started there. The center of Holy Russia moved from Kiev to Moscow over time, and it came to be seen as the "third Rome."
How much of this is history, how much is myth? What matters is how securely it is attached to a Russian's DNA. Can you intrude on somebody's "founding" myth and expect them to meekly move aside?