Putin’s Military Strategy in Ukraine? Judo Rules
We have been watching the military strategy of Putin for a few days now.
Some of the commentators have noted that Putin did not go in destroying everything. He did not destroy the infrastructure to cause hardship and human suffering. The lights are still on, water running, internet and phones are still active, and people are mostly still able to watch the news.
In the meantime, Putin is confronting military targets. But he is not smashing through them. As one commentator noted, when Putin meets the enemy, he backs up a bit and starts an encircling action. He patiently waits until he has full control before he decides if he needs to destroy.
This is Judo. And like Judo, he doesn’t want to kill his opponent, break his opponent’s arm, or choke him out.
He wants Ukraine to tap.
Tapping is what occurs when your opponent knows he is beaten, that a brutal wound is about to be inflicted. Rather than suffer the injury, the opponent taps three or four times on the victor’s body somewhere as a submission.
Russia has spent several days surrounding cities in Ukraine and softening them up. They are inflicting not nearly as much damage as they could be, but making it ugly. Putin really wants them to be as intact as possible in the end. He doesn’t want to have to rebuild his brand new territory. Besides, the Ukrainian generals and the Russian generals know each other. They drank beer together back in the military academies when they were 19 years old. A town in Ukraine looks much like a town in Russia, this is like invading home for the Russian soldiers. No need to be cruel unless absolutely necessary.
Ukraine invited them to the bargaining table. Putin thought they were “tapping” but found them unwilling to yield. He went right back to the “softening” process, increasing the pain.
That is the nature of Judo, you inflict just enough pain to get your opponent to give up. If he can stand the pain you are inflicting, then you slowly raise the level of pain until your opponent knows he is beaten. You never want to have to deal that killing or maiming blow.
Watch Russia start to raise the level of pain (it is happening already). In the next few days, you will see a rise in aggression and brutality in attacks by Russia.
What does Russia want? We have said it before. They already effectively control Ukraine, they want to keep certain parts, and negotiate back the rest of it in exchange for relief from sanctions. That is Putin’s next logical step, the culmination of his plan (as I see it). But only when Ukraine is ready to tap, i.e., to surrender unconditionally.
If Ukraine yields then it is over. How much pain can Ukraine stand? The world will suffer from watching the brutality, but no one will step in to fight Russia.
Is it worth it for Putin? This will not end Russian aggression. They want parts of Ukraine to act as a buffer between Russia and NATO. They also have ambitions to control gas and oil pipelines, which will give them leverage over the world.
I guess we will have to wait and see what the next move is. This one is mostly over.