It is not uncommon for me to be asked about what to do when you are dealing with aggressive counterparts in different kind of relationships, we usually give them a short version of different types of people you might encounter in different relationships.
If you look around yourself you can usually find different characters that either are compliant or confrontational in the way they relate to other people or situations.
You can simplify it even more and talk about alpha males as the most aggressive ones and how to relate to them accordingly.
You can also simplify it by breaking down the demands they have and try to understand what their goals might be, in most cases they will just take or force their way to what they want, in some cases they will outsmart you before you know what is happening and in other cases they take you for a fool and will run you over just because they can.
The problem we usually run into is that when we try to reason with them they will stick to their demands and even change the rules of engagement if they can just to make sure you will comlpy.
If you don’t , there will be consequences, grave once if you don’t give in fast enough, if they give you a choice , it will ususally be between two bad ones, or at best a way out by you doing nothing.
Trying to negotiate in these situations are tough but possible, in most cases you have to look at the power balance and see if you can alter it in any way or if there is a possibility to go from being reactive to being proactive by putting pressure back on your opponent.
If you can’t change the power balance by yourself, take advice from outside, if you don’t know how to become proactive then ask for help if you can, usually you are too close to the problem and might benefit from an external view from a consultant.
Generally you have to take a close look on who and what you are dealing with, it can also be that you are up against an opponent that can cause you serious damage or pain, it can be that you are dealing with a personality disorder from anything up to a narcissist or a psychopath.
If you are lucky, it might just be another persons ego you have to muster in different ways, however all can be dealt with in different ways with different levels of risk and costs.
The most important question you have to ask yourself is, if you don’t deal with it, will the problem go away or are you training your opponent in how he should treat you to get the best outcome for himself?
In most cases we forget to take into consideration what the impact will be if we don’t deal with what’s is going on directly or if we don’t make sure what the consequences will be for both you and your opponent.
So what about Russia, Putin and the special operation with Ukraine, what is really going on, and why is it escalating as it is?
Well first of all, if Putin could get away with Crimea in 2014 why not try to get the areas in Ukraine thats holds all the heavy and special industry that once delivered to the Sovjet union before it collapsed.
I am sure the expectations where that it would just be a Special operation over a few days, with marginal turbulens, especially if thee consequences were not more severe than back in 2014 with Crimea.
After all, France and Germany helped finding a negotiated settlement for Russia that included getting all the nuclear weapons back, with a promise on a pice of paper to respect Ukraines borders in the future.
The west have sadly trained Putin and Russia into seeing the west as weak and spineless nations spoiled over time and intimidated and fooled to that extent that we will never stand up to Russia if we were put to the test by the threat of Russia nuclear capabilities.
If the west give in now, when will it ever be enough before the west say enough is enough?, it started with Crimea, but there are other neighbors to Russia that are already under the thumb of Russia and other neighbors that could end up in the same situation over time.
Now the situation has escalated even more and the big question is if we can expect Putin to escalate it even more, if you ask me I would say yes he will, Putin is prepared to go all the way, and even prove his point by making sure the situation has escalated to that extent, that it is a choice between lesser of two evils for the west.
In that situation we can only make sure we get a better solution by making sure, Putin is the one who has to make the choice between lesser of two evils or being the one “crossing the Rubicon” river.
After the Nordstream pipelines were blown up, we got as close to an escalation without to grave consequences due to that it was Russian property that was damaged within Swedish economical zone, the next time it might be a staged situation within any form of Russia, so Russia can claim they have been attacked.
Staged attacks has been used in history before so a country can justify using any means of violence to retaliate , it can also be that a country can be provoked to act by sanctions that in the end will ruin its capabilities to be a sovereign state.
If and when a tactical nuclear might be detonated, it might not be outside Russia, it can be done within Russian hemisphere, to make sure the home front will rally to the flagg of Russia and justify an all out attack on anyone defined as the enemy.
The best way to handle our present situation before it gets totally out of hand is to try and get China and India more involved than what thy are today, Even if China and India might have their issues with west or USA, they might not desire to see an all out world war as an outcome for all of us.
Putin has nothing to lose, he will go for broke, but Russia and the rest of the world has everything to win on making sure we find an better outcome for all of us before its too late.
If not, we can only hope that Russia will find a way to solve its internal issues by themselfs before our hands are forced by circumstances beyond our control.
Bell Blomquist Consulting