The events in Ukraine are surprising to me, and bring up a radical question. Is the world learning how to end wars?
Consider that Putin apparently assumed a few things that weren't correct. He thought the Ukrainians would be pushovers. That is obviously incorrect. He thought other countries would sit idly by since Ukraine was not in NATO nor any other union/treaty. This was wildly incorrect. NATO has come together and put heavy pressure on Russia itself through sanctions, military aid to Ukraine, and a heavy military display on Russia's NATO borders.
But the thing that surprises me most is how businesses have reacted, even to their own detriment. Many western companies have suspended activity in Russia. They don't have to do that. It actually hurts their bottom line. But apparently there is enough consumer pressure on them to invoke this reaction.
So Russia will soon be in a financial tailspin. It's military capability will be severely reduced by its losses in Ukraine. When the fighting is over Russia will be stuck with war reparations from all the horrid damage and mayhem it has caused in Ukraine. In the short term Russia may gain some territory, but in the long run the world is making sure that the expedition is a severe mistake that it will take many years and maybe even generations to recover from.
The next despot who feels the desire to take over another weaker country will hopefully remember the lesson of Ukraine. And just perhaps, the world will have learned how to stop the next war.