People who study International Relations will explain why this has come about, it is neither random, unexpected or out of the run of history. The tragedy is that the 'US Alliance' has used Ukraine as a 'cat's paw'. They made promises they could not uphold. Putin has been banging on about the strangulation of Russia as great power in its own right for decades while NATO has been steadily hemming Russia in. They treated the former Soviet Union as the Cold War losers, boxed it in, grabbed what they could and replaced Communism with Islam as the new public enemy number one. Russia fell apart into a chaos of mafia activity, emerging nationalisms, and major corruption. The context created a Putin.
All of those states trying to get out of the grip of the Soviet period generated deeply reactionary nationalist movements and became a breeding ground for a minority of angry 'fascistic' tendencies, and they often replaced Soviet Union state tyranny with local state tyrants. While most people crave a safe world to grow in they have become accustomed to looking to others to bring it about.
There was an opportunity after the collapse (although I would call it a staged change from the top to pass state assets into the hands of those who would rather own that wealth than manage it on behalf of the state) for the US and friends to really connect with the Russian people. But that was not how it was managed at all. Russia was seen as a great big bag of free goodies for asset stripping. Like a piñata.
Meanwhile all of the US attention is now on how to maintain its position in the face of a rising China, SE Asia and India. In the short term it has turned murderous in the Middle East to stop oil being traded Eastwards without the use of dollars. If the dollar is no longer needed on international commodity exchanges then US economic hegemony dies. It failed to create an ally out of Russia when it had the chance. Ukraine believed it could somehow become a part of the EU/NATO club but it is still sorting itself out. We allowed it to think that if it pandered enough to us it would be safe. There was massive influence being exerted on the Ukrainian ruling class to align itself with the US. Aligning with the US means opening all your tenders and markets to the world economy, selling off all of your state assets, and lo, it all gets snapped up by multinationals and overseen by the US security system. On top of all this the Ukraine is a hotbed for anti-russian activity promoted by the Western intelligience agencies.
Look at the map - the Ukraine is Russia's soft underbelly and has really significant access to a warm ocean. Putin is doing what any of our 'leaders' would have done in his position. It is sick, wrong, evil or whatever you want to call it. It is power politics and there are no good guys in that game. I weep when I see the stories of people caught up in this BS - the same as I wept for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, and all the rest. Where I live the state has a flag that became known as the 'butcher's apron', so blood soaked is its history.
So cabals are always at work - sure. But I do not understand the thinking that has us losing something good to something bad. People are mean and cheat on their nearest and dearest, let alone on remote strangers about whom they know little and care even less. This attack on Ukraine is neither the beginning nor the end of a set of dynamic processes. The media give us a picture of the world as a still and peacefull mill pond. Then some maniac comes along out of nowhere and throws bricks in. We kill the maniac and the pond becomes once again still. This is not the way the world is. We live in a seething ocean and the disruption is produced by us - by the things we do and the things we don't do.