This has been more than a bad habit. Our nagging our friends and irritating our enemies has produced remarkably few benefits to anyone and much ill-will among countries whose cooperation we either have needed or will need.
Our butting into things that are none of our business has taken the form of actions as well as words. Extending NATO right up to the borders of Russia has been one of those feel-good actions, much like our feel-good moralizing to other countries.
Are we really prepared to go to war with Russia if they send troops into Latvia, a NATO member next door to them and thousands of miles away from us?
Some people seem to think that, if we had already included Georgia in NATO, Russia would not have attacked. But what if they attacked anyway? Would we have done any more than we are doing now?
Would that have protected Georgia or would our inaction have just brought the reliability of our protection of other NATO countries into question?
If anything, we ought to be thinking about pulling out of NATO ourselves. European countries already have the wealth to produce their own military defense. If they do not have the will, that is their problem. What American officials can do is keep their mouths shut if they don't intend to back up their words.