Staunton, Jan. 12 – Vladimir Putin faces a choice between a war of attrition which minimizes military risks but increases political ones and an expanded war which increases military risks but minimizes political ones, Vladimir Pastukhov. But because he is more concerned about the political ones, he is likely to choose the latter.
Stressing that he is no military analyst, the London-based Russian lawyer and scholar says that he believes that Putin will make this decision intuitively and display in this case the same tendency toward the irrational rather than the rational (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=63BF43FDE60FC).
Pastukhov says that his many years of experience as a lawyer suggests that when people are facing a dead end, one from which there is either no way out or none that is obvious, they divide into two different groups, depending on the nature of their courage, the “desperate” or the “calculated.
Those who have “desperate” courage, he says, tend to go on a rampage and ignore the threats, while those with the “calculated” kind freeze and wait for an opportunity to be presented to them. Either kind may lead to victory, or alternatively, it may lead to defeat.
Putin, Pastukhov argues, is “a man of desperate rather than calculated courage; and under conditions of increasing stress, he will be tempted to solve the problem he faces ina single blow rather than relying on the playing out of fate. Consequently, even a narrowly tactical successin the Donbass with stimulate this courage.”
And that means this: he is likely to expand his aggression in Ukraine even though “the overall risks of a strategic military offensive this winter are much higher than those the Kremlin would deem acceptable” if a rational assessment were in fact made there.