Ideological psychosis is quite real and plausibly only persists and serially, cyclically reoccurs in political systems because it represents the amplification (and inadvertent self-validation) of potential psychological fallibilities in every human mind. Putin’s pathological obsessions are part Machiavellian opportunist, part ignorant misanthrope, part kleptocratic mobster but I think the kernel core of his position on nuclear escalation represents a logical error so profound, so devastatingly ridiculous, so monumentally stupid that it is not even visible and intelligible to him and his regime.
The game of communication (and disinformation) upon which a totalitarian system is anchored is only as significant and sustainably “successful” for as long as it persists. External (and internal) threats are cultivated, manufactured, invoked and shaped in ways that more or less guarantee the minimal viability of the narrative tropes of nationalism and imperialism the regime anchors itself upon. To escalate to a point where the possibility of cascading (as autocatalytic, perhaps unintentional) geopolitical complexity might cause not only the limited tactical exchange of nuclear weapons in Europe but lead to global catastrophe – and thus the erasure of the game, the players and the world that provides them meaning is the essence of a psychotic dynamic.
To be to a literal point of addiction dependent upon an escalatory gambit that makes it possible to invalidate, erase and extinguish not only the players of this game but the board and semantic space of meaning within which any of these political strategies and, indeed, human observers exist – this is pure insanity.
To be anchored upon the politcal value and strategic utility that summits in total self-destruction is to have stepped across the event horizon and to be forever falling towards self-inflicted oblivion. Russia would do well to decouple itself from Putin, Lavrov, Peskov and all like them. They bring only self-destruction and defeat and while they have long leveraged and exploited their atavistic oppressive stranglehold on that nation, their time is over.
They have lashed themselves to the ideological mast of endless self-destruction. Nuclear blackmail is their zugzwang.