People often perform mental gymnastics in order to blame anyone but themselves.
If by employing diplomacy over strong arm tactics than yes, Putin’s diplomacy does provide lessons on ending the Ukraine operation. However, Michael McFaul does not mean that. As you can read. He simply suggesting upping the ante to force the hand.
There have been diplomatic options from the get go. First of all by simply abiding by the Minsk accord. There was nearly a settlement via negotiations in the early days of the war. The US dealt the death blow to that attempt at peace. Can’t forget the US backed overthrow of Ukraine’s elected leader in 2014. Russia has always stated they are willing to sit down and talk
McFaul is employing the same war mongering rhetoric with the inclusion of some fresh nonsensical material from the Prighozin incident. Including lots of weasel wording. When life hand you lemons, you make lemonade.
He presents Putin’s move as an acceptance of humiliation- I do not see it that way myself. My view is that by grabbing the reigns and steering the plot to a negotiated end he showed
a) decision making is embedded in his office
b) does not allow for Prighozin to dictate who will or will not be in government
c) also shows an understanding of the importance of civil unity over greater civil discord
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to negotiate with the Wagner Group’s armed rebels may offer insight into when he would be willing to end the war in Ukraine, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Michael McFaul said.
Several questions remain in the days following a 24-hour mutiny led by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin over the weekend, who turned his private mercenaries away from the Ukrainian front lines and toward Moscow on Saturday. Prigozhin, who claimed the rebellion was a protest of the Russian military’s actions in Ukraine, (that’s not all he said) has since exiled to Belarus as part of the peace negotiations brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to end the conflict without bloodshed. The rebellion, however, may have exposed some of the Kremlin’s weak spots, as Prigozhin has been cleared of any potential investigation by Russian officials and there is no word of other Wagner personnel facing criminal consequence. Putin has since thanked Russian law enforcement for handling and deescalating the situation before it turned into a potential “civil war.”
Rather than doubling down with overwhelming force to crush the mutiny, Putin accepted humiliation instead,“ (that’s your perception being managed) said McFaul, who dissected the Russian leader’s reaction to Prigozhin’s conflict on his Substack channel Sunday. “He was the rat trapped in the corner that so many Putinologists have told us to fear. But he didn’t lash out & go crazy,” McFaul wrote. “He didn’t take the riskier path of fighting a civil war. He negotiated. Moreover, he cut a deal with someone he just hours earlier labeled a traitor. This decision made Putin look weak.” It is unclear what exactly was laid out as part of Prigozhin’s deal to end the rebellion, (But McFaul knows it was weakness) but Lukashenko confirmed on Tuesday that the Wagner chief had arrived in Belarus as part of the “security guarantees” promised by Putin. It is also unclear what lies ahead for the private military company as a whole, although Russian officials have started to seize some of the mercenaries’ “heavy military equipment” for the Russian Armed Forces.
It’s not entirely unclear. There are mainstream sources reporting on the issues of contracts- Prighozin has spoke of them himself
“We still do not know the details, but the compromises [Putin] made [Saturday] may even further undermine his grip on power at home,” McFaul continued. “But he took that path anyway.” “The lesson for the war in Ukraine is clear,” he added. “Putin is more likely to negotiate and end his war if he is losing on the battlefield, not when there is a stalemate. Those who have argued that Ukraine must not attack Crimea for fear of triggering escalation must now reevaluate that hypothesis. The sooner Putin fears he is losing the war, the faster he will negotiate.”
We don’t know the details but we’ll call them compromises and suggest Putin has or is losing his grip on power. Putin would’ve always negotiated- His negotiators would have done their job.
Several experts (experts-appeal to authority) told Newsweek on Tuesday that Prigozhin’s rebellion likely poses a unique opportunity for Ukraine as its military forces launch a counteroffensive to reclaim Russian-occupied territory. As of Sunday, Kyiv claimed control of yet another Ukrainian village along the front line in the southeast, and said that Moscow had lost over 30 tanks in the past week of fighting.
As Guy McCardle, managing editor of Special Operations Forces Report, told Newsweek, “The uprising gives Ukraine a big strategic and psychological boost.” “It’s like being a boxer and having your opponent struggling on the ropes: Time to go in for the knockout,” McCardle added. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to not end the war in Ukraine until all occupied land-including the Crimean Peninsula that was annexed in 2014-is returned to Kyiv’s possession.
Of course we’re exchanging opinions too, but McFaul’s opining is very different because of who McFaul is and the outsized political role he’s playing in this entire scenario.