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I see no evidence to suggest that Russia is thinking strategically.

IMO Russia is the sad old drunk in the pub picking fights with the younger toughs because he used to be a contender and wants to persuade himself he still has it.

It's delusional machismo, not 5D chess.

I don't think many Westerners understand Russia's culture. It's a bizarre combination of corrupt criminality and aggressive imperialism.

The US does corruption covertly by hiding it behind government contracts that channel money to CEOs and shareholders who in turn use some of it to fund politicians, who approve contracts...

Russia's corruption is autocratic, personal, and a model of rigid hierarchical patronage. Which makes it a complete mess, because money is diverted away from useful strategic goals. And individuals who can think collectively and strategically are purged and replaced by grifters and crooks.

So Russia does well at expanding its empire through covert ops, subversions, and financial influencing. Usefully this matches its view of itself as a strong, tough empire that is destined to save Europe from its own inferior and contemptible decadence.

But it's pretty mediocre at straightforward up-front conflict, and its leaders literally can't deal with strong organised opposition as a response to intimidation. Or even just with having their bluff called.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 10th, 2022 at 09:01:09 AM EST
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