You know how you deal with a playground bully? You stand up to his crap, get people behind you, and call his bluff.
Which works really well right up until you discover the schoolyard bully is a little unhinged, and is playing out of his own book because he believes his own story.
And then you discover it's not a bluff, and then things get really hairy.
Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Hitler, not so much with the bluffing.
And I'm not so sure about Putin either.
Mao and Minh aren't compatible to Hitler. Both were conducting a civil war against an oppressive and corrupt regime (The South Vietnamese and Kuomintang (Chinese nationalists) weren't just and fair governments) and both propped up by foreign powers (and both ended up losing because they weren't popular with the people).
But the definition of a bully is someone who talks tough, but is never willing or able to follow it up. This means Putin isn't a bully (neither was Hitler). The Napoleon complex is more suitable for describing Putin but not complete. Putin's biggest risk isn't the US, NATO, western Europe, BRIC or the Ukraine... It's the Russian people itself. The Russian people have no problem overthrowing a government they dont like when that government appears weak so Putin is trying to focus the people's attention on an external threat to distract people from internal problems, basically diversionary foreign policy to prevent domestic strife.
Meeting Russia with aggression is exactly what Putin wants. His approval will soar, internal dissent will be silenced and people will rally around their government ignoring how bad it is. Putin will appear to be the hero, protecting Russia whilst the US will be the "evil imperialist invaders" and if the Russians are good at something, its propaganda and America will be portrayed at the modern Nazi's.
I've said it before, breadlines, not hardlines will break Putin, Ironically, Putin is like the argo (aggressive) drunk at a low rent bar. He keeps telling people that he's going to beat them up, and pushing everyone around him to show how tough he is but wont throw a punch without provocation however he's quite drunk enough to do some damage in a fight if you start it. You stop these people by not serving them any more drinks and ignoring their insults, not by starting a fight with them.