Linked Katchanovsky is spinning for Russia. The status of territories occupied since Feb 24 were never settled in spring negotiations. He is simply lying that Putin agreed to withdraw to Feb 24 borders. As for Johnson's "you may be ready to sign but we are not" claim, he (Johnson) was talking specifically about third party security guarantees (to be provided, among others, by UK) to Ukraine. Meaning UK would be obligated to go to war directly if Putin broke his side of the peace treaty. Western powers were ready to throw Ukraine under the bus in February and would gladly done so in April were Ukraine to submit.

Robin, as with UFOs, cool it with abstractions and colossal theories and get your facts straight!

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I think the United States and NATO started this war by fomenting a colour revolution in 2014, but we'll agree to disagree, Timmy boy!

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Interesting take. I think it'd be better if Zelensky headed for the hills (perhaps in the stilettos he wore in the Beyonce dancing video?), gives up as much territory as Putin wants, and that'll be that. And Victoria Nuland is banned from "the borderlands" forever. A good start at least!

Hmm...something tells me this won't be palatable to old homeless lookin' Tim and his memetics. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree!

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Re: "So we must act in accord with the usual game theory analysis. Which says to compromise and make peace if possible."

Right: so let's compromise. Russia gets all its forces out of Ukraine and ensures that President Putin is no longer running the country - and then the rest of the world will reduce the punishment for having been warmongering nation state that invades its neighbours and kills tens of thousands of their citizens for profit.

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That seems like the "commitment plan" Robin says he is looking for. If you start wars and invade other countries, the remaining countries will likely not look kindly on you and may respond with sanctions and forming a coalition against you. It is not even needed as a commitment - everyone knows that bad behavior is likely to be followed by punishment.

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TBF to Hanson he said clear commitment not a certain commitment. One can clearly commit to carrying out a threat with an 80% probability in such and such circumstances.

However, I think this is also where Hanson makes an error. There is a clear commitment in this probabilistic sense: if you invade a sovereign country for no good reason you'll be hit with sanctions and you'll have to face that country's army augmented by aid from other concerned countries. I think that line has always been pretty clear but the probability of serious response may have been unclear. Unfortunately, that's the kind of thing you can only adjust by actually doing it.

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Russia and Ukraine have reached numerous deals during the war for various evacuations, temporary ceasefires, and similar. Russia broke most of them. After a while, Ukraine stopped believing anything they said.

You can't have a deal with someone who doesn't stick to their deals without third parties guaranteeing things, and the only third parties involved in any talks have been hosts, not guarantors.

There was never a "going to be done" deal to end the war that was stopped by an emergency visit to Kiev by Boris Johnson. Russia was just stringing things along as a distraction and to make it look like they were reasonable.

Putin will restore as much control of as much of Ukraine as he can, until he feels the cost is too much for Russia or him to bare.

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Most viewpoints form around selected facts followed by a search for more cherry picked evidence to support the viewpoint. That doesn't mean all viewpoints are equivalent. If your viewpoint requires you to start a war, it is probably wrong. If you haven't actively tried to find evidence that doesn't support your viewpoint, it is also probably wrong.

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From a game theory perspective it doesn't matter how Russia sees itself. The game-theory deterrent exists as long as Russia understands, when deciding whether to go to war, that the rest of the Western world would see it as an unjust aggressor, and respond to punish it. It's hard for me to believe the Russian command was ignorant of that when planning the war.

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It is not true that you need a clear commitment to a simple plan for game theory to apply. It works fine with probabilities, for example if you raise the opponents estimation of you carrying a threat from 0% to 80% that should have 80% of the effect of committing 100%.

We're in this situation now because Putin assigned a low probability of retaliation from the west based on his experience from his attacks on Georgia, Tsjetsjenia, and Ukraine in 2014. If we end up not retaliating hard this time he will keep getting bolder, which means eventually attacking NATO territory, which increases the chance of a nuclear escalation by a lot.

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Sure, they see themselves as provoked but that's not relevant to this principle.

We saw ourselves as provoked in Vietnam yet we didn't use nukes bc communist powers were supplying the Vietkong. No doubt the USSR saw itself as provoked in Afghanistan but again no nukes bc we were supplying the Afghans. And there are more examples.

This is why we've (mostly correctly) been pretty careful to only help Ukraine attack Russian's in Ukraine. The sharp line is between having your home territory attacked and supplying native troops in a foreign country.

And whatever Russia believes should be true of Ukraine they obviously understand what side of that line they are on.

You increase the risk of nuclear war if you let nuclear states use their nukes more widely to threaten other powers into getting what they want. Sooner or later someone will be pushed too far and will say no neither side will know who is serious. Better to stick with the recognized rule.

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That question has probably been asked in many wars. Still many peace deals were made and there seem to be diplomatic practices to get there.

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Also, re: nuclear war it's also long been a principle (which is also quite simple) that nuclear powers only get to use their nuclear capability as a threat to protect their existing territory not to force the world to let them invade other countries w/o providing aid to those countries. And deviating from this understood line makes things more risky long term bc there is no clear line to replace it.

I absolutely agree that western troops shouldn't get involved but it's long been understood by both Russia and the USA that merely supplying the enemy forces in a proxy war isn't justification to use nukes. They did it in Vietnam, we did it in Afghanistan etc etc... To let Putin use his nuclear weapons as threat to force us to stop supplying the conflict or to pressure us to pressure the Ukrainians to sue for peace would fundamentally make the detterance relationship less simple and more risky.

I mean, there is obviously some point at which other nuclear powers won't just say "woah, u threatened nukes...we'll stop providing aid to your enemy" but it's not at all clear where that would be. If Russia had invaded Sweden and not the Ukraine? So I feel there is also risk in deviating from the line that's been established.

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Two points:

1) Bright lines are important...but equally important is the principle that it shouldn't be possible to guarantee an advantage by being able to do something wrong and as soon as things start looking bad for you say "no no peace" and still get to keep part of your ill-gotten gains.

I'm all for a peaceful settlement where Putin leaves Ukraine but that's the key issue.

2) There are bright lines here. The bright line has always been that invading another country means you risk provoking that country to fight back and to pay great costs to push you out of their country. You also get sanctioned by the world community.

No, they don't always mount a successful defense and sometimes the sanctions aren't a big deal. But the bright line is there even if the costs are probabilistic. Your proposal undermines that system because it allows the aggressor to gain by invading and then agreeing to peace as soon as they start to suffer casualties.

Also, I think there is less need for explicit simpleness and clarity when the line is psychologically natural. I mean, even the neighborhood bully or mob boss who steals your stuff thinks twice (if smart) about raping the wives and daughters of those they terrorize because it's a natural psychological bright line that causes people to be willing to endure extremely high costs to punish the violator.

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In the modern world unjust aggressors almost never see themselves as unjust aggressors. They sincerely believe they've been provoked or even manipulated into war.

And there's usually some evidence to support that viewpoint.

Reality is rarely black-and-white.

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A peace deal seems like a rational course of action.

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