From Putin’s point of view, the talks between the USA and Russia, NATO and Russia and now the OSCE have not yet produced the hoped-for results. At the OSCE, Russia has insisted on an early decision on the security guarantees demanded by Russia. Delaying the negotiations could lead to an „inevitable deterioration in the security situation of all states without exception,“ said Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, at a meeting of the organization in Vienna on Thursday. “Russia is a peace-loving country. But we don’t need peace at any price.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also drew a negative balance on Thursday. According to Russian news agencies, he warned of a dead end in Moscow and justified this by saying that the American government and its allies did not want to meet the demands for security guarantees. He therefore sees no reason for further talks. Russia will instead use „other measures and techniques“ in relation to the West. Ryabkov did not rule out the possibility of the Russian military being stationed in Cuba and Venezuela should the talks fail. „I don’t want to confirm or rule out anything,“ he said on Thursday in response to a question on the RTVi station. „Everything depends on the actions of American colleagues.“
The reactions in the German-language media varied. FAZ, SZ, ZEIT, taz, Welt, BILD reject the idea of Ukraine’s neutrality, as well as security guarantees apart from possible arms controls, only the NZZ and Freitag think of neutrality and Finlandization of Ukraine and Belarus. Today, Putin and Gazprom advisor Dr. Rahr told Global Review a new threat scenario: If NATO deploys military forces in Ukraine, Russia will deploy medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. I replied that Germany, France and the Western Europeans, including Orban, would block such a step in NATO and Putin and Rahr themselves knew that very well. Sounds more like saber rattling and a clumsy threat of a new Cuban crisis and World War 3. Rahr then de-escalated again, because perhaps the Russians wanted to deploy medium-range ballistic missiles, but the Cubans didn’t want this, nor a new Cuban crisis. If Che would have konwn that !
In any case, there are now also the first voices questioning Putin’s rationality. Yesterday, a participant in the Phoenix Round in German TV questioned Putin’s rationality. Some of the demands and threats were so exaggerated that one wonders whether Putin wants to increase his maximum demands in a calculated and rational manner and strengthen his negotiating position, or whether he is now an irrational mental prisoner of his own war paranoia . with the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the case of an irrational actor, the West would have to react differently and prepare for the worst case. If one no longer sees Putin as a rational actor and calculable chess player, then one would psychopathologize him as a great insane madman and mentally ill, as BILD spoke of Saddam about „the madman of Baghdad“ or in the case of Ahmadinejah as „the madman of Tehran“. So far, however, this is still an outsider’s position, which is also not expressed in the Russia-critical BILD.. General Naumann only speaks in the context of Putin´s maximum demands as „brazen“, but not of „crazy“ and General Domroese explained that he does not take part in such idiotic speculations. In any case, this classification of Putin as a lunatic or maniac is still a complete isolated outsider position, but idiotic Republican Russiahawks ala Lindsey Graham might be inclined to foment such a line of propaganda. Not yet, especially since Trump would curb them, otherwise the question of the mental state of mind of Trump and many of the Republicans could also be questioned.Nevertheless, Latin America expert and observer of Russian and Chinese influence in Latin America and former member of the US State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, Dr. Evan Ellis asked question:: „I worry about how far the Russians take their bluff to make the West think it is credible…“
Regarding Moscow’s threat to deploy Russian troops in Cuba, Dr. Ellis thinks: „The Cubans are more prudent than the Venezuelans…They don’t want to unnecessarily stir up trouble, and be pawns in a Russian game of geopolitical chess….“
General retired Naumann has the following assessment:
„My impression is that Putin has gone too far and did not expect that his impudence would have welded the NATO countries together rather than divided them. Neither Cuba nor Venezuela will accept Russian troops, as everyone in Moscow and Washington knows. In addition, almost everyone knows that Russia is in decline economically, demographically and ecologically. I think one could certainly find a way out of Russia’s homemade trap, but that would require close cooperation between US, FR, UK and D and that’s where D and FR are the whimps. But hope dies last, above all I hope that Putin does not instigate a very limited action in the Donbass to save face and hopes to trigger a coup in Kiev. „
So Putin is still seen as a rational actor, not as a madman, but even calculating chess players can make wrong chess moves and miscalculate, which is why the West is issuing these warnings to him, especially since the West would then be forced to escalating countermoves. Especially since Saddam Hussein miscalculated when he invaded Kuwait, and so did the West in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Libya, and especially in Iraq in 2003. Therefore the West wants to prevent Putin miscalculating the next move in Ukraine.
If Putin sees that his calculation isn’t successful at the moment and he doesn’t miscalculate, he already has a different calculation. .He is waiting for the midterm elections in the USA and the next presidential elections in 2024, which will bring the USA into a kind of paralysis, especially if Trump should start another kind of civil war that could make the USA, the West and NATO unable to fight. Insofar as there is no Harvey Oswald or courageous US military and police officers to intervene preventively, Elmar Thevensen’s prognosis that we are experiencing the calm before the storm, not only on Capitol Hill, will be endorsed. If Trump is not elected, he will escalate and bring the USA at the threshold of a civil war or paralysis. If he is elected, the Democrats nd the military will accept it and he will make the USA a authotaria conutry and launch a great purge- insde the stae and in the Republcans and also against any Democrat in the USA. If Trump comes back, that will be good for Putin, and maybe for China too. Both Putin and Xi have this Trump perspective in the medium term. Although Putin has more hopes in Trump than Xi, the Chinese can also sit it out and see Biden, Trump and the USA in general as their obstacle to the rise to world power and Trump weakens the West overall, especially in Europe, which Putin sees as an advantage, but Xi sees Trump’s disunity in the West, as well as his opposition to free trade zones such as TPP, which China is now filling with RCEP, or possibly rejection of Biden’s New Silk Road B3W despite his harsh rhetoric and trade war against China and polarization of the non-Chinese allies even as useful. Maybe the next Madman will be in Washington and not in Russia and Putin´s calculation for a new Yalta and spheres od influence will then be successful. .