Daily, we here reports about the war in Ukraine and how it looks as though, with a lot of help from the U.S., the Ukrainian army has not only been able to take back territory lost earlier during the initial invasion, but are also on the brink of possibly restoring borders originally lost in 2014. This is a decent, and short article concerning the regional and worldwide outcome if (when?) Russia is forced to turn tail from Ukraine. All good and important points to make but the Gorilla in the room has nothing to do, at least directly, with their neighbors or even allies.
In 1991 when the Soviet Union fell, the worry in the west didn;t have anything to do with the Warsaw Pact (soviet Union answer to NATO) but the 45,600 nuclear warheads supposedly in their arsenal. how does the west (the U.S.) prevent any of these falling into the hands of state sponsors of terrorism or just those that are adversaries to the U.S. and the west(N. Korea, Cuba, etc.)? How about those that are just bad actors and would be a threat not necessarily to the U.S. directly. but to their neighbors. Recall, Ukraine had a lot of those weapons and gave them up only on the promise from the west (the U.S.) that Ukraine wuld be protected from Russia.
The world may be back in the same situation if Russia is forced to flee Ukraine as fast as their army is retreating currently. Putin most likely would be overthrown and just like in 1991, at least temporarily, there would be a power vacuum in Moscow this time, however, the state of the world is not as stable in some regions as it was in 1991. Any length of instability in Russia today might lead to catastrophic consequences elsewhere. Of course, the real danger will be from Putin himself as he has been reportedly unstable since this war has not exactly been going his way and members of the Duma are calling for him to resign. No one is certain of the support Putin has right now. I wonder what he a Xi are meeting about in Kazakstan?