5609 - Foligno XIX

There is a term in the German language, called Putin-Versteher, meaning, someone who claims to understand Vladimir Putin, meaning, that one can see a logic in his deeds. Of course, those who use it, use it derisively, in the sense of, has been manipulated.

In a way, to a certain degree, I was a Putin-Versteher myself. Basically, until the Russian invasion, I thoroughly didn’t expect it. It was impossible. What did he have to win? In my understanding, the USA did try to provoke him into … not a war, but some kind of moderate but nevertheless inexcusable transgression, in order to finally force Europe to abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and sell us their expensive gas.

I still believe, that this was one of the major US goals, that was it all the time, and without some weird stunt, it would not have been preventable. Legally the pipeline was completely OK, and more or less finished as well.

So, maybe a little suffering for the Ukraine would have been perfectly acceptable. Something like the one-sided recognition of those two new “People’s Republics” would have done, and indeed it was enough to push Germany over the edge.

At that point I was still convinced, that Putin is a rational actor. He would have lost some business, but what the Germans don’t buy, the Chinese invariably will. He would stop at that exact line, because he also had achieved a goal. He would have demonstrated will and ability, and that would have helped him in Russia.

Still, both sides would know, that nothing really had changed. Both would be able to live with it. After all, the Russians had already been in Donbass. For the Ukraine, it would be an embarrassment, but for the rest of the world? It would have been a cynical win-win of the big gorillas.

And then all shattered. I have no idea what that means. Are we back on the brink of nuclear war? Seriously? Has Putin gone mad? And if so, what does that mean? Will he stop now?

So, now we have the inexcusable transgression, but much worse: Putin has maneuvered us into a situation without an acceptable exit path for anyone, himself included.

You see me worried.