People are dying in Ukraine.

And what takes place there has consequences all over the planet.

The first two world wars had been fought by soldiers from almost every corner of the Earth.
Almost all countries have declared war on each other, even though not all of them have participated in military operations.
The third world war – the Cold One, had been fought ‘virtually’. And was the first to divide the world into three.
The ‘liberal-democratic’ camp, the ‘popular democracy’ camp and the non-aligned camp. As always, World War III had been lost by the least flexible among the combatants. By the more dictatorially run camp. By the camp, which, precisely because of the authoritarian manner in which its decisions were adopted, had failed to mobilize all the resources it had, potentially, at its disposal.

I’ll make a parenthesis.
Any act of aggression is an idiocy.
Regardless of the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcome, the aggressor has more to lose than the victim. This does not need to be demonstrated. The most perfunctory glance at history is eloquent enough.
Here I’m concerned about war as an ‘ongoing phenomenon’, I am not trying to integrate it into the narrative. Any war, any act of aggression, is initiated under certain conditions determined by the history spent until then and will be, at some point, integrated into the history written afterwards. And the way it will be integrated into history will determine the conditions under which the next war will be initiated. Or not…

Let’s go back to the present moment.
This, the fourth one, is the first mixed world war. The first ‘lukewarm’ war.
The consequences are felt around the globe, almost all states take part in it – also divided into three camps, while the act of ‘actual’ aggression is somewhat limited.
The reactions to this act of aggression – the way in which those who have to bear its consequences relate to the conflict, constitute the beginning of the way in which this episode of physical aggression will be integrated into history.
The liberal-democratic camp is helping the victim as much as it can – this could be the subject of a very long discussion.
The authoritarian-populist camp helps the aggressor. As far as it can, lest it shows its true colours…
The self declared ‘non-aligned’ camp claims it is one of the victims and urges negotiations.

Here’s the place where I need to make another parenthesis.
The aggressor is ‘Putin’. A collective character that has at its center the current Kremlin ‘gate-keeper’.
The fact that the collective character known as ‘Putin’ is currently leading Russia’s destinies is a matter of history. It has to do with Russia and the Russian people indeed, but placing all the responsibility for the atrocities which are taking place in Ukraine on Russia’s shoulders would be a mistake. A mis-diagnosis which would lead to a ‘counterproductive’ treatment.
Many of the analysts and commentators who write on this subject are ‘mesmerized’ by the ‘master of disaster’. By Putin. Some ‘highlight’ his actions and others want to distract us from what Putin is doing by trying to argue that Putin was forced to do what he had done because the ‘others’ had acted as they had done. As if the mistakes already committed could provide any justification for future atrocities…

Back to the subject.
The main idea which emerges from the ‘messages’ we are bombarded with – regardless of the motivations attributed to Putin, is that any surrender to the aggressor’s claims will be eventually ‘underwritten’ by all those involved.
For the simple reason that Putin will interpret the smallest crumble ceded by the victim of the aggression as a personal victory. Victory that will be attempted again, sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, all the other Putins in this world, all those animated by authoritarian whims, will feel encouraged by any shred of victory which Putin will have enjoyed.

‘Are we stupid?!? He pulled it through, didn’t he?
We should try it too!’

Well, so far, so simple.
Putin is not the first dictator to be scrutinized by psychologists. Or by political scientists.
‘Nothing new under the sun’ and no original contribution.
Almost everything Putin had ever ‘accomplished’ has already been analyzed and can be explained away with the help of quotes pulled from more or less famous authors. Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Marx, Ivan Ilyin.
Unfortunately – or fortunately? – Putin is ‘transparent’.
He becomes more than ‘obvious’ after the briefest analysis. And, in fact, dictators – all dictators, are very ‘simple’. Single minded individuals effectively enslaved by a single thought. Concentrated exclusively on how to obtain and preserve absolute power. Everything else about them is bullshit. Make belief and propaganda.

Personally, I’m interested in something else than ‘what drives Putin to…’
Putin does what he does because he has the opportunity. Because he ‘enjoys’ a set of circumstances in which he can act his ‘fantasies’. And Putin got into this situation because those around him – those who could have done something about ‘this thing’, did not understand at the time what was going on before their eyes.
I can understand that! ‘Temporary blindness’ is not an ‘exceptional’ thing. But still. From a certain point onward – after ‘the milk spilled over’ and after reality had slapped you over your face, to continue with your head buried in sand… to remain ‘temporary blind’ only because you ‘enjoy’ your current position and/or your current paycheck… without realizing that you are being led to the abyss…

‘Putin’ doesn’t take prisoners.
Even if you considered yourself his ally, or his faithful servant, and no matter how many promises he has made to you, when he no longer needs you…. you’re toast!
When he no longer needs you, you become a cost. And in their world, in the world of dictators, costs must be cut! No other arguments will ever be considered.
Aside from the fact that you have a good chance of getting sacked as Putin becomes more and more powerful/callous, associating yourself with this kind of people is dangerous by definition. No matter how strong they seem to be at any given point, all ‘things Putin’ end up badly. The more powerful the Putin becomes, and the higher they get, the worse they fall. They along with those who ‘waited’ on him!….

Does anyone know a dictator who ended up on the throne?
Lenin?Stalin? Khrushchev? Brezhnev? Andropov?
Is this what we want?!?

The conclusion drawn by some observers, “In the end the outcome has only two valences: Putin loses or Putin wins” is valid only for the short term. Very short! In the long run, Putin loses. In the longer run Putin has always lost.
And it was us who had to endure! The ‘excesses’ committed while the dictator was at the helm and the ‘vagaries’ of the ‘transition period’ which followed. The point being that the more we endure ‘it’ – for the sake of momentary comfort or out of fear for what might happen, the more we will have to pull. In the near future!

As for the five dictators enumerated above, yes, four of them did die on their throne. Khrushchev had been deposed and lived for a while under ‘close supervising’. But after each of them had ‘transitioned’, their ‘close associates’ had been thoroughly ‘epurated’.

What happened to Russia during their ‘tenure’?

Whence my question.
Do we really want to take part, any part, in anything even remotely similar?