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Would Putin Dare Use Nuclear Weapons?


Real Clear Defense

Would Putin Dare Use Nuclear Weapons? Managing His Ukraine Fears Are the Key

By Robyn Hutchins & Adam Lowther

Two top national security experts explain that the key to success in Ukraine is effectively managing Vladimir Putin’s perception of gains and losses.

As we approach the six-month mark of Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine, there is an opportunity to reflect on a conflict that offers the world unprecedented access into the mind of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. While the daily images of death and destruction are heart-wrenching, it is important to take some time to understand the psychology that led Putin to invade Ukraine and threaten the use of nuclear weapons. The free world needs that understanding as it attempts to counter Putin’s actions and ensure he does not follow through on his nuclear threat.

Indeed, deterring Putin’s nuclear threats is one of NATO’s top priorities. To do so, NATO must influence his decision-making process. Most people think about nuclear weapons as the manifestation of deterrence, but deterrence in reality is a psychological pursuit. It does not happen in the physical world, but is instead the result of an absence of action. Deterrence occurs in the cognitive domain, and it is better understood as something that happens inside an adversary’s mind.

Few analysts examining Putin’s actions discuss prospect theory, yet it may be one of the most insightful psychological frameworks for how people make choices. Although the name may be unfamiliar to readers, if you have ever read Freakonomics or Nudge, then you are familiar with behavioral economics – and this was deeply influenced by prospect theory. Let us explain further.

Full story https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2022/08/22/would_putin_dare_use_nuclear_weapons_managing_his_ukraine_fears_are_the_key_849237.html

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