Grinning Russians in the Crimea. Smug Havana political thugs showing Russian sailors around town. It could be serious.
Or it could be like the locker-room games in 6th Period PE. Big jocks identify the chess club nerds and snap their butts with wet towels. The weakest and most excitable get the worst of it.
The idea is more to humiliate than to hurt.
So. Who has Putin identified as the easiest mark in his campaign to restore Russian respectability after his own nation's humiliation in our Reagan years? Could it be a ward heeler who lucked out and opened his hope-and-change reign with a world apology tour?