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No Apparent “Off Ramp”

There’s no question Vladimir Putin completely underestimated two things: (1) the resolve and determination of Ukraine & her people, and (2) the worldwide response from other nations to his tyrannical invasion.

Regardless of what ultimately happens in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has permanently sealed his reputation as a tyrant dictator.  His country will – and should – be crippled economically until he reverses course.

*** It is gravely troubling that there’s no apparent “off ramp” for Putin at this point.  In other words, it’s possible Putin realizes his decision to invade Ukraine was a mistake, but doesn’t see an effective way out of this situation.

Here’s what I mean by that:

If Putin comes to his senses, stops invading and withdraws Russian forces, he faces even further humiliation at home, and possibly internal challenges to his authority.

If Putin continues with his original military strategy in Ukraine, he now realizes that’s likely to be a protracted war with significant Russian losses, which is also embarrassing to Putin.

But if Putin escalates his attacks on Ukraine – which it appears he’s starting to do – this will result in even further actions from the international community against Russia and its economy.  Tragically, Putin doesn’t care about hurting the Ukrainian people. But over time, as Russian citizens feel the economic pain being applied to Russia, they’ll attribute that to Putin.  He knows it.

So this remains a very delicate situation.  Putin started this war.  For the sake of his people and his country, it’s Putin who needs to de-escalate.