[ExI] putin and the three pirates problem

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Tue Mar 4 11:28:55 UTC 2014

William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> , 3/3/2014 8:31 PM:
I can't see any way to lose in this situation provided we let Russia take Crimea.  They have lost face with the international community (check out what Zakaria has to say), scared Poland and others and will win a small state that is already mostly Russian and we get Ukraine in the European community along with others that may be waffling.
This is a public relations nightmare for Russia. 
Putin is an excellent tactician but a lousy strategist. He got everything he wanted: Crimea (symbolically important), a 'war' to unify his nation, a chance to look buff, putting Ukraine and democrats in their place and so on. He does not care about foreign opinion, so it is not a problem. But indeed, this will make every state around Russia start to look towards NATO and EU, it produces a new source of unrest inside Russia, it breaks off international links, it makes it even harder to transition away from a raw materials based economy in the face of demographic winter, it loses Russia potential allies and any chance at claiming to not be a rogue state. So from a longer perspective it makes all of the Russian problems worse in the future. Putin may be fine with that, since he doesn't seem to aim for a political dynasty. He (and presumably his clique of core allies) just wants to stay ahead personally.
He has read his Machiavelli, but skipped the chapters on making a viable dynasty. Sometimes the long game matters. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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