Poroshenko says, “Peace depends upon Putin’s mood.”
To a limited extent, and with a complete admission of fallibility, I think I understand the guy. In this context, at least. I’ve given it more than casual consideration; a couple years ago, I wrote a paper on Putin’s character.
I think Putin is, in a sense, remorseful, in that he is genuinely worried about the potential for loss of human life. Whether this extends beyond ethnic Russians is yet to be seen. But among the lives at risk, there are Russians. Besides the broader Russian population of Ukraine, there are the proxies, who, as with the Bay of Pigs, were put there as the result of a faulty calculation. The conditions on the ground did not move in the direction that would favor success. And now, he must be thinking, “How do I get them out of there?”
The appearance of Putin as a cold, calculating individual is at least partly a put-on. It works to his advantage. It does not appear that he rises to the sensitivity of leaders of the E.U., but that may be as good as it gets in human history. Compared to our own record, Putin is probably not impressed with our argument based on defense of freedom. We, on the other hand, are less than impressed by Putin’s comparatively small sacrifices because of the motive, grabbing land. The one subject both sides seem to tacitly avoid are the Chechen wars. Some things are worth not talking about, and defense of Western civilization is one of them.
But at this moment, Poroshenko has provided us with an absolutely stunning insight: Putin can lose his cool. If Putin is playing Hitler yelling at Chamberlain (see Munich Agreement) for what purpose is the theatricality? Whatever the intelligence view, the White House is justifiably concerned about whatever possibility remains of invasion. But on the other hand, Putin must know it would wake up the Germans.