Is Putin Acting In His Own Self-Interest?

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To: Vladimir Putin

As an economist, I can offer you some life-saving advice – not that you deserve it. Although economists do not agree among themselves very often, all of us believe that virtually everyone is motivated by self-interest. Even you.

For your entire life, you have acted solely in your own self-interest. And you have been immensely successful. Until now.

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Putin's Invasion Of Ukraine

You need to ask yourself a very simple question: Was your invasion of Ukraine in your own self-interest? Or in Russia’s self-interest?

Any sane person – aside from your legion of bootlicking lackeys – would tell you that you made a grave mistake by going to war with Ukraine. And virtually every non-Russian military expert now believes that there is no chance that you can win.

So, you need to ask yourself this question: Is continuing the war in my own self-interest? Or, alternatively, could a humiliating defeat possibly be in my self-interest?

Get real! You are not winning! Your ragtag army will soon be pushed out of Ukraine – including Crimea. These are facts. And you can’t argue with facts.

And just to rub it in, if I may: Your great strategic plan to reconstitute the old Soviet Union has always been just an ill-considered longshot. Not only do you not stand any chance of succeeding, but you will go down in history as just another failed dictator with a grandiose scheme. In America, such people are called shmucks.

Now, let’s consider the vast personal fortune you have stolen while you’ve been running your country. Of course, you’ve got much of it stashed safely abroad and have very competent financial managers enabling it to continue growing.

But permit me to suggest that you won’t get to enjoy spending any of that money once you are dead. And that may happen much sooner than you think.

And what about your legacy? Look at your idol, Stalin, leader of the Great Patriotic War. Don’t flatter yourself, Vlad. For better or for worse, you’re no Stalin. And no matter what else you ever do, you will never have any success in reassembling the Soviet Union.

Your place in history is not yet completely written. You did manage to steal Crimea and a slice of Eastern Ukraine – both of which have relatively large Russian-speaking populations. And you will probably have lost both by next summer.

But all that is the good news. Now, are you ready for the bad news?

Do you have any idea how paranoid you are? Of course, you do! Well, I hate to tell you, but you’re not nearly paranoid enough!

Rightfully Paranoid

You are completely correct that there are many people who want to kill you. But you probably don’t have a clue just how many. So, let me help you out.

Despite the overwhelming electoral victories you have won in your fixed elections, there is probably no place in Russia where you would feel safe without a large protective contingent.

Now are you ready for this question? What percentage of Russians in the military now serving in Ukraine would love for the chance to kill you? Come on, Vlad: don’t be modest!

Maybe your boot-licking military advisors are too afraid of you to tell you this, but haven’t you noticed how not even one of them has dared to suggest that you visit your frontline troops in Ukraine to see how they’re doing? Surely that would be a great morale-booster.

Hey, Vlad: you’re a brave guy! Why not go and inspire your troops and lead them into battle? Surely, a great leader would jump at the opportunity to save the motherland!

You could be the new Julius Caesar, George Washington, Napoleon, or Fidel Castro. You could singlehandedly rip victory from the jaws of defeat!

Now please permit me to ask just one last indelicate question: If you did lead your troops into battle, who do you think would kill you first – the Ukrainians or your own soldiers? Just asking.

Economic theory stipulates that rational individuals act in their own self-interest. Regretfully, you’ve become growingly irrational, especially over the last year or so. You are clearly becoming increasingly paranoid. You need to get out while you still can.

The walls are beginning to close in on you. The only questions are who will get to you first and how will they kill you?

Let’s give the Ukrainians the first shot – if you’ll pardon the pun. Has it already occurred to you that they can now target you either with a drone or a missile? So, you might want to stay completely out of sight.

Your fellow countrymen have many more options. They too could employ drones and missiles, but from much closer range. Perhaps a Russian Airforce pilot holds a grudge. Surely, you could think of many other suspects.

We can agree that you have no shortage of enemies. So, just maybe, now is the time to pick up all your chips and leave the cassino. As an economist, I advise you to act in your own self-interest – not to mention the welfare of your family.

Oh, and one more piece of free advice: Be very careful about what you eat. But I guess you already knew that.