Ukraine Armed Forces report Russian troops are being told that war has to be over by 9 May


Were you aware !

This reminds me of the Stockdale Paradox.

During the Vietnam war, US Navy Pilot James Stockdale was shot down and held as a POW for over 7 years. When interviewed later in his life, Stockdale was asked what characteristics separated the prisoners who survived from those who perished.

His answer basically came down to mentality:

“The optimists, oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart … This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

Stockdale went further by contrasting his mentality stating, “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

It seems evident that the Ukrainians have the same mentality as Stockdale from his time as a POW. They are motivated and firmly hold the belief that they will prevail and the Ukrainian people and country will flourish in the future.

In contrast, the Russian troops already lack motivation for a multitude of reasons (equipment, strategy, understanding of mission, etc), but falling into the trap of continuously setting and pushing back dates will further and significantly degrade motivation and morale. At some point, an army with an increasingly poor outlook will become combat ineffective. It doesn’t seem like the Russians are near that critical point, but this practice works to push them in that direction.

Overall, this is a terrible strategy on the part of the Russians. Not incredibly surprising given that much of their strategy has been poor to this point, however, this could be a critical misstep if this message is being widely communicated to the deployed forces.

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