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Russian mad man story...
is hard to reconcile with the first rule of politics; no man rules alone.
My approach to understanding political actions is to look at the incentives across the system as a whole. I don’t know much about the system in Russia or Ukraine—its history and the evolution of incentives of different players. I can’t add any insights here.
But the “mad man versus the civilised world” story seems a little too clean.
The throne looks omnipotent from afar, but it is not as it seems. Take the throne to act, and the throne acts upon you.
Any large scale political action, including war, is a group phenomenon—an emergent outcome of the incentives of many individuals across the system. A crazy system outcome doesn’t necessarily need crazy individuals, nor a madman pulling all the strings.
No Man Rules Alone.