“Cornered Putin Problem” — A Sobering New Assessment
Author: Greg Valliere
March 4, 2022
IN A CHILLING ARTICLE THIS MORNING, three veteran New York Times reporters contend that U.S. intelligence agencies are concerned that Putin may seek to expand the war.
INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS WORRY that the increasingly erratic Russian dictator could consider action ranging from indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities to compensate for the early mistakes made by his invading force, to cyberattacks directed at the American financial system, to more nuclear threats and perhaps moves to take the war beyond Ukraine’s borders,” the Times authors contend.
THE U.S. ASSESSMENT of Putin “is linked to an urgent re-examination by intelligence agencies of the Russian leader’s mental state, and whether his ambitions and appetite for risk have been altered by two years of Covid isolation,” the authors say.
THIS IS LABELED THE “CORNERED PUTIN PROBLEM” by intelligence experts who think enormous new sanctions — with the potential to crush the Russian economy — have infuriated Putin to the extent that he will “double down.” He surely must be aware that the global hero is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, while Putin is a despised pariah.
AND PUTIN ALSO MUST BE AWARE that his military has performed well below expectations, as Russian casualties mount, still another reason to be furious. And a threat to assassinate him — discussed by Western leaders in private — was broadcast last night by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was indiscreet as usual.
THUS THE WEEKEND BEGINS with even more uncertainty and pessimism about civilian atrocities condoned by the unstable Putin, who plausibly could escalate the war in coming days. Putin isn’t ready for a truce yet; he’s apparently too furious at signs of weakness by the Russian military.
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