Saturday, June 19, 2021

US Pursues Win-Win Strategies; Russia Pursues Zero-Sum Outcomes, Skobov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 17 – Many analysts in the West and some in Russia decry Vladimir Putin’s old-fashioned thinking about foreign affairs because he invariably sees them as zero-sum games in which one side wins and the other loses rather than understanding in their view that today talks must seek a “win-win” outcome in which both sides get something they want.

            Unfortunately, Russian commentator Aleksandr Skobov says, it appears that Western leaders believe that they can engage Putin in a win-win game. That is “impossible in principle,” he says. And failing to see that is “a much more serious mistake than agreeing to a criminal meeting with a gangster” (

            That is because those pursuing a  win-win strategy will always include  in their ranks people who argue that one more concession to the other side will be enough to achieve such an outcome when in fact, those on the other side if they are like Putin will simply pocket any concession and demand more. He and they will never be satisfied until they get all they want. 

            Those who would like to get a win-win outcome need to recognize that as long as Putin is in power, there is no chance of that. And they must recognize that their only task in dealing with him is “victory over an enemy.” After all, that is what he is seeking, and any concessions the West makes to him aren’t going to change that reality.


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