Putin's doom loop
The eighth month of Putin’s nine-year war has been one of the bloodiest. Just this morning Russian soldiers shelled a humanitarian convoy attempting to enter Zaporizhia, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.
Ukrainian forces at the end of the summer began de-occupation in Kharkiv and Kherson regions, but completing the process will take years, not months. That means the end of Phase 3 is a long way off.
Putin’s doom loop started with the all-out invasion of Ukraine (February 24, 2022), followed by military mobilization of Russian reservists (September 21, 2022) and Russia’s formal annexation of Zaporizhia, Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk regions (September 30, 2022).
We concluded on Day 14 that trying to figure out what Russia’s leader is planning is no longer very interesting, because he had already “zeroed” himself by signing off on the current mess and hinting that he’s prepared to push the red button if the United States and NATO intervene on Ukraine’s behalf.
What will happen cannot be avoided. If someone wants to kill himself, there’s little you can do to prevent it. An increasing number of western leaders are thinking that if armageddon is indeed inevitable, then why bother delaying it.
So far, the fighting has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people. Millions more have lost their jobs and homes.
There is no reason to think that nuclear war is inevitable, but the trend is now clear enough that policymakers need to spell out in greater detail what, exactly, they’re doing to prevent the current awful situation from becoming even more deadly.