Is there any doubt that Putin is not comfortable upstairs there in his head? He has expressed repeatedly that he feels NATO’s, the European Union’s, the UK’s, and America’s behavior by too-closely-snuggling Ukraine via potential NATO membership up to Russia indicates the free world is out to get him.
Russia expert Fiona Hill said yesterday on American TV that although only a handful of Russian intelligence, security, and military people closely share Putin’s fear of a free world invasion of Russia, they are true believers in the concept.
However, since his closest advisers and the Russian people appear likey to now be questioning his thinking, might he not find one new free world idea attractive? Might he not reconsider his Ukraine escapade if the free world offered to help him create a legally-designed official buffer zone on Russia’s borders?
This should provide him a sense of improved Russian safety. We might even offer to help him hold a Ukraine election where Ukrainians could vote either to be on the Russian side or the Ukraine side of the buffer zone.
Obviously, we may well have waited far too late for this wonderful idea. Our historical lack of nuance, our impaired inability to see the other fellow’s deepest viewpoint, probably caused us to shoot ourselves at least in our big political toe – if not our entire foot – by unwittingly encouraging his Ukraine war.
The difficulty now is getting inside Putin’s ear to persuade him we could mean business in helping him make Russia safer. This idea is a long shot. But logically it might make enough sense to try it. We could propose it to his close advisers, over tea, perhaps.
If we simultaneously express our right to give Ukraine honorary NATO membership, as I suggested in my last two commentaries, and a bugger zone, that might gain his ear. A free-world good cop and bad cop strategy, so to speak. Is that off the wall? It succeeds in police work.
In Las Vegas poker it is the consummate bluffers, courageous enough to package their bluffs in the trappings of perceived reality, who win the pot. Indeed, they must imply a threat with their bluffs. But, If they also imply a lucrative benefit for their opponent, the best bluffers have a real opportunity of winning the game.
Anyone want to try some complex political nuance and up the ante with Putin? The least it could do is give him a laugh.