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Ominous Rumblings

April 27, 2022 10:18 p.m.
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Here’s an interesting and thought provoking Twitter thread by a Rand Corporation political scientist, Mike Mazarr, on the chances of a major Russian escalation in Ukraine. It touches on some points I noted yesterday about the dangers of Russian weakness and military failure. (It builds in part off this piece from a British national security think tank, “Operation Z: The Death Throes of an Imperial Delusion.”) On the ground in Ukraine it looks like Russia has failed miserably at its initial war aims and strategies and is now trying to grind out much more limited ambitions in the east. But within Russia and in Russian media rhetoric has escalated to make Ukraine itself almost a side issue. They portray Russia as in an existential struggle or holy war, a war that is really against NATO and the U.S. “Russian television has been flooded with statements urging escalation as part of an existential struggle.” A top legislative leader says: “This is a metaphysical clash between the forces of good and evil… This is truly a holy war we’re waging and we must win.”

Crazy stuff.

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