What Game is Putin Playing?
What Game is Putin Playing?
A debate with RAND's Samuel Charap on how to respond to Russia's ambitions in Ukraine—and beyond.
Published on: Jan 16, 2022  

Is a war in Ukraine coming? And what should the U.S. do about it? Putin is sticking to his maximalist demands, which some believe might be used as a (flimsy) casus belli. Samuel Charap, a senior analyst at RAND and author of Everyone Loses, joins us this week to help break down this dangerous moment, explain how we got here, and what our next steps should be.

With few Americans paying attention, this could be a pivotal moment for Russia's broader ambitions in Europe. Despite his relatively weak hand, Putin has been playing it well. Samuel, Damir, and Shadi debate whether the U.S. can or should "do more"—and what does doing more look like, anyway?  

Our follow up bonus episode is available here for subscribers. Shadi confides that he doesn't care that much about Ukraine, while feeling somewhat guilty about it. Which leads to a classic Damir-and-Shadi back and forth about counterfactual history and what it means to care about anything.

Required Reading: