Putin’s Ardennes. The president of Russia understands that he has overcharged [ANALIZA]

  • All attempts to talk de facto from the beginning were doomed to failure
  • In theory, Moscow can play offensively by escalating its demands
  • However, much more indicates that Putin understands that he has overestimated his relations with the West and that, in fact, he is only playing defensively
  • More information can be found on the Onet homepage

After the fiasco of the bilateral talks in Geneva, the outcome of the multilateral meetings was in fact a doomed end, but the Russian side commented on their course only after the entire cycle of talks had been completed.

The fact that the talks between Washington and Moscow were in fact most important makes it clear who is dealing with security cards on the West’s side. This country, as in the Cold War period, is invariably the United States. As far as this is no surprise, what Russia is at stake is already a mystery.

Moscow’s demands, the essence of which is not only to block NATO enlargement, but even to transform some of the pact’s member states into second-class members, were completely unrealistic and arrogant from the outset. Elementary logic dictates that Russian diplomacy must have understood when submitting its proposals that what it demands is completely unacceptable not only to the United States, but – even more so – to countries such as Poland, but even to Russia’s most sympathetic members. . Theoretically, there are several possible answers to the question of what Russia is at.

Option 1

The first answer would suggest that Moscow, by imposing prohibitive conditions for normalizing relations, wanted the West not to sit down at the table at all, or, alternatively, by rejecting Russian proposals during the talks, gave Russian propaganda a pretext to attack Ukraine. The intention was that the alleged lack of good will on the part of the West “forced” Russia to intervene (Russia always announces that it is doing it in self-defense). It cannot be ruled out that the Kremlin is looking for an excuse not only to restart the war with Ukraine, but also to transfer some of its forces to Belarus.

Such a scenario would be very dangerous, as the Russian army stationed in Belarus would potentially mean the possibility of an easy cut off of the Baltic states and, at the same time, an attack on Kiev from two directions. From the point of view of Warsaw, this would mean, in turn, that we would eventually become a front-line, not a flanking state. Contrary to appearances, it would not have to mean a catastrophe for us. First, the US military presence in Poland would be increased. Secondly, the Russian army on the borders might eventually force the Polish political elite to treat national security in a mature, and not so far frivolous, approach.

The problem with such a scenario is that Russia could both take Belarus and invade Ukraine without such a complicated game. It would be much easier for Russia to start a war again under any pretext than to build a multi-story structure to justify something that could be done simpler and cheaper and finally faster.

Option 2

The second option would be much more worrying. What if Vladimir Putin has lost touch with reality or has even gone mad, and in such a scenario we are not in for something much worse than a war only with Ukraine?

The problem here is that there is no indication that Vladimir Vladimirovich has gone mad. Yes, he probably understands less and less how ordinary Russians live, but what and what – he deals with foreign policy every day. And every day he proves that he can take care of it.

Option 3

The third option is where the Russians keep their feet on the ground but try to convince the West that they are crazy. This is exactly what American diplomacy did under Richard Nixon’s presidency, when American diplomats persuaded their Soviet interlocutors that the president had become unpredictable and could lead to World War III. This tactic entered the history of diplomacy under the name of the “madman theory”. The problem is that if this were the case, the Russians would not involve such cold players as the main interlocutor of the Americans in Geneva, i.e. the deputy head of Russian diplomacy since 2005 (with a break from serving as Russia’s ambassador to NATO) Alexander Gruszko. Both he and the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, are cold as steel (and they probably have as much rules as steel), but what and what they cannot pretend to be madmen themselves, nor do they give the impression of the tsar’s officials – a madman.

So what is it all about?

So what is Russia all about and why is Moscow raising the stakes so much, since no one really intended to admit Ukraine to NATO, or, even less so, hand over Moscow to the states of Central and Eastern Europe, without receiving anything meaningful in return? The essence of the absurdity of theses of those who threaten Poles with “betrayal of the West” is that it is not known why the West would betray Poland, since Russia has nothing to offer it (Russia will never stand up to the West in a confrontation with China). Why does Russia need a new “Cold War”?

Are you sure the Cold War?

The thing is, the above question is actually wrongly posed. A veteran of the CIA and DIA (United States Military Intelligence), and now a lecturer at the US National Intelligence University, Josh Kerbel, in a text published in The Hill, notes that the use of the phrase Cold War, due to the connotation associated with it, is completely wrong and hinders instead of making our analysis easier.

The Cold War was analytically relatively simple: with two opponents and – if you can put it so – obvious, straight, clearly delineated front lines. The confrontation between the West and China is, in turn, a complex system of mutual dependencies and relationships without a clear line of confrontation, and it also differs from the Cold War in that this time all participants are players within the same world system. Today’s conflict is more of a multi-board game, not a soccer match. Kerbel’s text concerns relations with China, but the conflict between the West and Russia differs from that with China only in that Russia is much weaker than China. If so, and the game takes place on at least a few parallel chessboards, then you need to ask yourself whether the one we observe is the most important one? And is what we see the essence of the dispute, or is it, on the contrary, a performance that is supposed to confuse us? Does the attacker show strength or, on the contrary, hide weakness?

Eternal bluff

For the last 20 years or so in foreign policy, Russia has been like a poker player who bluffing constantly, wins every time despite weak cards. The thing is, Moscow, by playing too long and too high, has led to a point where almost everyone has had enough of Russia. As Witold Sokała, a lecturer at the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce and an expert of the Po.Int foundation, notes, “Putin already knows that he has overcharged”.

The last offensive?

If so, and since we know that Russia has consciously made its completely unrealistic proposals for something, perhaps the answer to the question of what is going on is quite different from the one that is usually given. Much – including the knowledge of Russian diplomacy, which always hits like a boxer before retreating – indicates that the Russian treaty proposals are a desperate attack to force the West to talk. Not to win, but to agree on optimal conditions and then focus on the real threat to Russia, which is China, not the West, after all.

The Russians – as long as they are not crazy (and there is no sign of it) and as long as they are not looking for complicated pretexts for an attack on Ukraine (which they do not need, because it is much easier and cheaper to shoot themselves and accuse Ukrainians of it) – they repeat many times maneuver practiced: as in boxing, when you start to lose, you move out the last right hook, hoping that maybe somehow you will be able to win.

If this is the case, and if Russia’s current offensive is, in a way, the equivalent of the German offensive in the Ardennes in 1944, when it was no longer about defeating the West (because it was not feasible for a long time), but about being able to to come to an understanding with the West, it is of key importance that the West of Russia – unlike Germany in 1944 – does not want to defeat it, but to come to an understanding with it. Only not on her terms. If this is the case, it means that after conversations that could not bear fruit, more will come – the real ones. Before this happens, however, it will be necessary to divert the attention of Russian public opinion from the concessions that must always be made by those who overplay.

A small imperial war – not with the West, of course, but with Ukraine – would be fine.

About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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