I’ve written about Robert D. Kaplan, a favorite writer and international affairs analyst of mine. One of his favorite sayings is that in order to avoid tragedy, leaders must think tragically.
That’s what renowned foreign affairs Realist, Professor John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, does in the piece linked to below. He examines the various bad-case scenarios that could conceivably arise now that all sides – Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S. – have expanded and dug in on their war goals, rather than lowering them in order to reach a settlement that ends the conflict when it would have been easier to do so.
While the odds of the various scenarios Mearsheimer addresses coming to pass may be low, we avoided the ultimate disaster throughout the entirety of the Cold War precisely because both sides had leadership that thought this way – looking ahead to what could possibly go wrong if they weren’t prudent in their decision making. They didn’t push the envelope by taking risks when the consequences of failure had the potential to be so horrific that even very low odds were too high to chance.
Click on the following link to read the article in its entirety.
“One might concede that although one of these catastrophic scenarios could theoretically happen, the chances are small and thus should be of little concern. … If only one could be so sanguine.” – John J. Mearsheimer