I wish people would not say Vladimir Putin is mad. One understands him much better if one says he is bad. In some ultimate sense, evil is a form of madness because it brings destruction to its perpetrators as well as its victims, but Putin is not mad in the ordinary sense of the word. He knows what he is doing.
The value of saying something like ‘He would happily murder every single Ukrainian if it served his purpose’ is not to express one’s anger and disapproval (both of which should be obvious) but to shed light on his attitude of mind. Given that he is such a person and his purpose is the re-creation of the Russian empire, the western allies cloud their own minds by seeking a conventional diplomatic path.
James Sherr, the sage of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, tells me of his exasperation at the first question asked of him recently in an interview with a leading western newspaper. It was: ‘What possible off-ramps do you see for Putin?’ The answer is: ‘None.’ Putin has studied the western culture that believes in ‘off-ramps’ for more than 30 years, despises it and now thinks he knows how to beat it. He Simply is destroying the whole country, so there's nothing left in the end. No buildings, No infrastructure, No people. END GAME NEGOTIATIONS OVER.