The Law of Unintended Consequences is a centuries-old concept and is said to produce three types of outcomes:
- Unexpected benefits (you plow a field to sow a crop and you find a gold bar buried in the soil.)
- Unexpected drawbacks (you plow a field and accidentally detonate an unexploded bomb.)
- Perverse results that achieve exactly the opposite of what you were aiming for.
A handbook example of the third type of consequences can be found in the catastrophic—and illegal—invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s troops.
Let’s take a look at the self-inflicted damage the Kremlin dwarf has generated while pursuing exactly the opposite goal.
- In trying to prevent Ukraine from becoming a NATO member, Putin has de facto accelerated this neighboring country’s path to membership;
- Because of Putin’s attempt to build an ample buffer between the Russian Federation and the NATO bloc, with Finland rushing to join the alliance in the wake of Russia’s war of choice, the length of the border between the RF and NATO has more than doubled from 1213 kms to 2548;
- Russia’s military, Putin’s pride and joy—as well as a powerful threat to neighboring countries—has failed to achieve all its military goals, thus proving to be an incompetent, corrupt and ineffective power-projection tool. Parenthetically, the export of RF military equipment has all but stopped because of Russia’s need for these armaments. The war in Ukraine has also highlighted the weaknesses of Russia’s military production and any post-war sales prospects look bleak;
- Putin’s energy blackmail, which was supposed to cow Europe into submission, has prompted EU countries to seek alternate suppliers for natural gas and automotive fuels. Russia’s exports have nosedived and whatever oil and gas the RF still sells brings in drastically reduced revenues;
- Putin’s kowtowing to Xi Jinping has failed to secure closer ties with Beijing and the supply of much needed matériel and ammunition. China’s playing the long game and stringing Putin along, with territorial gains its ultimate goal;
- Putin’s reliance on PMCs (private militaries) has given these mercenary organizations immense power and supplies. With the prospect of a collapse of the RF and ensuing civil war, such armies will be deployed to defend the interests of oligarchs and escape Putin’s control.
In a nutshell, the Russian dictator has created several monsters, which are poised to turn against him in the blink of an eye. Stay tuned.