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Is Vladimir Putin Bluffing? No, He Isn’t.

Presidents and prime ministers are often referred to as “statesmen.” And there is a dangerous and naïve assumption that “statesmen” are rational actors. In this view, Putin’s recent actions are just moves on the grand geopolitical chessboard. The moves towards annexing four provinces of Ukraine are just Bishop to Knight’s Three and the threat of using nuclear weapons is just Queen to Bishop’s Four. It’s all just maneuvering for advantage. He can’t possibly be crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons, can he? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, he is.Well, “statesmen” are actually just politicians. If you think Vladimir Putin is the wisest, smartest man in Russia, then you probably also think Joe Biden has an IQ of 160. And history is full of national leaders who were absolutely bat-*** insane. Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, just to name a few.Putin is no genius playing 10-dimension chess. He is a creation of a political system and social environment that rewards cunning, deception, and ruthless brutality. He does have …

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