Just a few thoughts without the intention of convincing anyone, I know many intelligent proponents of much harsher reactions by Russia and believe me sometimes I wish as much. Something deep inside tells me that is not the right way though, but maybe I am wrong, who knows:
They think good behaviour is a show of weakness, yes, for them everything is a show of weakness because they see themselves as gods of this world and you are not going to convince them otherwise, that is the first issue. They are trying almost desperately to get a violent response from Russia and China in their escalation towards war. I don't think Russia should given them what they want, in fact both Russia and China are being extremely calmed and refusing to answer even in the face of quite strong provocations. As they say, good life is vengeance, in Russia's case, development is the worst offence they can commit against the West.
Very much agree that there are some kind of "personality disorders" that apply not only to individuals but to nations, like those of the West right now, and that our top elites are basically a mix of crooks, degenerates, narcissists and psychos. They are coward, too, as you rightly say, and in fact look at them, when have they fought a war themselves? Do you think they are afraid of the masses being killed in the billions on their behalf? They aren't, that is what they have been doing literally for centuries. They have where to hide and probably (because that is how deranged people with a total lack of empathy and responsibility think) they deep down prefer to eventually die in a big blast and fuck the world with them than to be painfully defeated in a long and humiliating form. Or rather they don't think they can die at all, that is why they always double down in fury against anyone questioning their authority.
Look at this:
The people in charge of the US state apparatus are clueless chimp-level warmongers. They don't remotely understand the real military power balance in the world People that say that RF is a "regional power" or " a "gas station masquerading as a country", that in their mind are the victors of the Cold War and achieved the end of history are not rational actors anymore. You handle them like you do with violent, deranged people, you allow their own incapacity to defeat them while you try to keep things as calmed as possible.