The West is skillfully controlling the risks of escalation. It could safely help a lot more.
Sorry. I'm new to Substack and only saw this comment after a couple of months. (Or perhaps the UI changed; there was a notification I've never seen before.) ...
Anyhow, there has been a lot of reporting that James Schlesinger put himself somewhat unconsitutionally into the command chain in the US in case Nixon ordered a nuclear launch, as fears about his alcohol use grew. There's been similar reporting, although perhaps less definitive around Trump. But those moves simply took the US to a de facto status of what is de jure the case in Russia. The burden of proof is on those who claim Putin's orders WOULD automatically be obeyed.
Further, there is vast reporting about corruption and other disobedience in the Russian military.
In other precedents from the US, presidents from Truman to Trump have expressed dismay at the difficulty of getting the military to do what they want. And of course, in many countries around the world, the military has so disobeyed civilian overseers that it simply seized power in a coup.
Just stumbled on this blog, really interesting.. I understand your reasoning, after the assumption Putin isn’t the only key decision maker, but how strong is the evidence for it? (historical precedent, familiarity with how major military decisions are made, knowledge of internal Russian politics…) It’s a reasonable assumption, but you acknowledge it’s not shared by every observer