Decision making in Russia.

Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty is hard, even when you have “good” information. And we necessarily assume that high-level policy-makers have at least a marketplace-range of information as an input into the process.

But what if we’re wrong? What if the information available to, for instance, the leader of a country, is so poor, that the decision-making necessarily following from it is exceptionally bad? Garbage in; garbage out.

That scenario would explain (but not excuse) what heretofore seems inexplicable: R’s invasion of Ukr and its subsequent decisions to double-down, triple-down, etc. In the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine, Boris Bondarev makes an argument that the Kremlin has sealed itself off from neutral or objective information to such an extent that the decisions being made there don’t appear from the inside to be crazy and reckless.

The lesson for national policy makers, particularly ones whose geography/age/politics/type of rule/whatever leans toward insularity, is clear: get outside views. You may not want to hear them, but you have to.

Foreign Affairs article