To me, the answer is yes. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is playing with fire. His special military operation in Ukraine is dragging on for seven plus months without an end in sight. Now doubling down, Putin has called up 300,000 reservists in his latest mobilization. A first since the World War II.
To Putin, his thinking must be different. As much as I could tell, Putin is committed to his operation but is desperately needing a victory. Otherwise, there is no graceful way out. A miscalculation by the pro-war faction in Russia? Perhaps. But if Putin refuses to accept the reality and continues to throw good money after bad, he stands to lose big.
Maybe the Ukraine invasion has indeed become a proxy war between Russia and rest of the world. And yes, the winter is coming. The mighty Russian forces could not take the Ukraine capital Kyiv in February. What changed seven months later? Other than the Ukrainians are more determined to take back their country.
Regardless his intend, Putin is escalating the consequence of this conflict. Some has suggested what Putin needs is a hard loss similar to what the Japanese got before the end of World War II. I hope that is not the case. But if must, may the power to be hand Putin such a defeat soon?
How could Putin be taught a lesson?