Is Vladimir Putin going to order the invasion of Ukraine tomorrow morning, or on Wednesday afternoon, or perhaps next Monday once the Winter Olympics, staged by his putative comrade-in-arms Xi Jinping, are safely out of the way?

Alternatively, is he going to leave large numbers of Russian troops and heavy equipment strewn along the Ukrainian border for the next five years, obliging the West to remain on alert while he decides his next move? Or is he just having a laugh, getting us all wound up and dancing to his tune?

Nobody knows. America thinks it knows, but all it actually knows is what would most likely happen if Putin gives the order to go.