Losing Wars and Saving Face

Russian flags dumped in the aftermath of a pro-war rally at the Luzhniki Stadium on the 18th March (Photo via @mbk_center) The futility of Russia’s war against Ukraine is matched only by its brutality. The longer it goes on the greater the potential humiliation of Putin and his army, but also the greater the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Both sides have incentives to conclude this war. Channels of communication between the two have been open since early in the war. A number of would-be mediators have tried to identify the basis for a cease-fire. Occasionally there have been hints that progress is being made, and disclosures about possible terms, but no agreed text. Meanwhile with each passing day, the stakes for the belligerents are going up, along with the levels of distrust.

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