War is over when the goals have been achieved, not when the enemy had been destroyed.
While sometimes you have to utterly obliterate the enemy in order to achieve your goals, this is not always necessarily true.

Hari Bucur-Marcu

This makes a lot of sense, right?

Yeah, sort of…

The problem with this approach being that this understanding degrades war to a simple instrument.

Something used by a decision maker towards the achievement of certain ‘goals’.

The problem with this approach being that it obliterates the decision power of all other people involved in it. Of everybody else but of those calling the shots. Pun intended!

All analysts commenting Putin’s ‘special military operation’ babble on about Putin’s goals.
‘Ukraine will never be able to crush Russia, militarily, so we need to understand what’s going on in Putin’s mind.
In order to be able to ‘bribe’ him into ending the war. Or to black mail him. Only we need to understand first what will constitute a too big of a price for him to pay.’

On the other hand, Putin seems to be thinking along the same lines.
‘I need to preserve my position. MY power. Ukraine is a bad example for the Russian people. They have shifted their ‘allegiance’ and want to build a real democracy. I cannot allow this to happen, otherwise I’ll be next.
Now, how much pain do I have to inflict in order to achieve my goal? Directly, upon the Ukrainians and indirectly, upon the rest of the world?’

Meanwhile, the rest of those involved in this situation bear the brunt of the war. Directly and indirectly.

Some of them understand what’s going on and some don’t.

My point being that not all instruments are born equal.
While all are nothing but mere ‘sticks’ in the hands of the agents wielding them, choosing to use a certain instrument among the available alternatives speaks volumes about the agent making the choice.

What are we, reasonable creatures, to understand when an agent chooses an instrument which debases all other creatures to the role of ‘kill or be killed’?
For whatever reason and under whatever pretext?
Is that agent ever going to stop? To stop setting ‘goals’, further and further away?

Specially after having the ‘first installment’ safely tucked under the belt…