The devastating situation in eastern Ukraine has fallen beneath the fold of the page for much of the late summer, with news outlets focusing on the Michael Brown case, the growing threat in Iraq, and Obama’s strange distance from the matters of utmost concern to the majority of Americans. All of that changed on Thursday when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that at least 4,000 Russian troops had crossed the border.

This signals a dramatic change in strategy from Vladimir Putin, who up until now has been satisfied with merely supporting separatist forces with weaponry and funding. Now, it appears that Putin is willing to take a more hands-on approach to the conflict even in the face of sanctions. The United Nations is meeting with Poroshenko to devise a response, but anyone waiting on the UN to actually make a difference might as well hold their breath. The asphyxia would be less painful than the inevitable disappointment.

According to Russian propaganda television, of course, the militia heading west is made up entirely of volunteers. True, some of them are active-duty Russian soldiers – no denying that – but reports from Moscow suggest they are vacationing troops who decided for themselves to help their brothers in Ukraine rather than relax wherever it is that Russian soldiers typically go to unwind. To say that this explanation falls short of the laugh test would be an understatement, but it does go to show just how far Putin-controlled Russia has fallen back into their USSR patterns.

And so here we stand, waiting to see what kind of action our commander-in-chief will take in the face of the worst European aggression since the end of World War II. The safe bet is that he won’t do much of anything. Obama has spent the majority of his presidency relying on a very simple, ineffective doctrine: wait until the very last minute, put up a weak response, and hope that the situation resolves itself before his approval numbers have a chance to plummet.

This president’s weakness, in fact, is responsible for the rise of Putin’s Ukrainian aggression in the first place. Only a fool would believe that Putin would be flaunting international law if there was a real man in the White House. There’s absolutely no chance he would have tested George W. Bush in this way. But he knows that Obama is spineless. And just like the illegal immigrants who continue to surge across our southern border, he understands that his actions will likely face few consequences.

It’s already a given that Obama will go down in history as one of the nation’s worst presidents. It’s only now, however, that events suggest that he might go down in history as a coward as well. Liberals took his message of apology and appeasement as a welcome change from the “cowboy rhetoric” of the previous administration, but the mess in Syria, the mess in Iraq, and the mess in Ukraine clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of Obama’s inaction. For the sake of a world falling increasingly into chaos, let’s hope he can get his head out of his ass before World War III comes knocking on our door.