The only response I can think of for this is that, while Putin almost certainly wants to think of himself this way (being ex-KGB and all), true Xanatos gambits aren’t possible in real life. Every plan has holes, because there’s too much complication.

In other words, at the very least, we’re looking at a combination of planning (particularly, the construction of double-binds), improvisation, and luck. And, it’s not as though double-binds of this type are impossible to engineer: it doesn’t take a strategic genius, or someone with near-total political power, to produce them.

(The other thing to note is that the weak spot in any strategy is randomness. This isn’t to say that randomness will always win, but instead that any system will eventually succumb to fuzzing if the fuzzing can be sustained for long enough. Placing someone unpredictable in power is dangerous simply because you never know how they might undermine your plans — but that risk is spread out across all possible plans.)

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software.

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