This is one of the most important articles I’ve read all year, I reckon:
Needs careful reading, but in summary: states like Russia still have the classic impulses of insecurity and pride. But they also calculate the risks of escalation. To assert themselves forcefully without going over the brink, they design their campaigns around a ‘jab and pause’ logic: exploit a crisis, move in rapidly and even deniably, announce a fait accompli, and in the face of a NATO that lacks intermediate options to respond between nothing and major war, dare their adversaries to respond. So, once again, even in the face of nuclear deterrence, states must take seriously the prospect of minor hostilities, opportunistic gambits, and localised disputes.