Nothing daunted, I'm going to suggest another similarity between the two little dictators: both seem to believe in their own abilities as military strategists and tacticians, with little compelling justification.
We've read in several places that Putin has proceeded very cleverly in strategic terms, "laid a trap for the West", built up substantial financial reserves, squared China away, allowed Germany to become hooked on his gas etc etc, and perhaps there's a decent argument along those lines - right up until he fired the starting-pistol. But where's the shock-and-awe sudden victory? Or, conversely, what's the merit in allowing the military stuff to unfold as messily as it is? I can suggest only one, and a heavily qualified one at that. Maybe he wants to occupy a really big chunk in perpetuity, and doesn't want to damage the infrastructure too much, or piss off the inhabitants.
Well. That would have depended upon a very quick rolling-over by the defenders; or the spontaneous anti-government uprising he called for; or for the West to pull the rug. As things stand, none of these being self-evidently just around the corner, it looks as though he'll need to contemplate something considerably less than ideal - (a) stepping up the destruction in a big way (which can always "succeed" in its own terms, but hardly glorious); (b) continuing to look stupid in public (and pathetic to the Chinese); or (c) settling for some near-term outcome that is rather lame-looking against the apocalyptic circumstances and his extraordinary rhetoric.
On (c), it was widely suggested that Putin has available to him a fruitful strategy of "bloody a few noses, seize 50km, freeze the new border, wait for the waters to close over, rinse and repeat, from Tbilisi to Tallinn". In other words, that's not to be characterised as I just did, as a less-than-ideal outcome: it's maybe what he wanted all along.
I'd be interested to know if any of our BTL-ers who espoused this view still reckon it flies. He certainly has his 50km if he finds that satisfactory (though at the time of writing I'm not sure Odessa is in the bag). IMHO, the flaw would seem to be: just how long is it that the professional Russian military etc is willing to be humiliated by the distinctly unfunny pantomime they're being made to participate in? (Then again, people probably said that about the Wehrmacht in 1942.) Additionally, the whole of NATO - including Germany! - has been royally stirred up; and Tallinn might be feeling a bit more secure than it did three months ago (for now, at least). The "50km" strategy starts to look a bit, well, glacial: I ask again, how long has he got?
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In my view, then, Putin is guilty of Adolf-style micro-managing the military (the ever-tempting sin I've frequently lauded George Bush Snr for avoiding): I'm not quite as ready as Starkey to attribute strategic prowess to L'il Volodya, at least in the purely military sphere (nor the 'hero' status in the non-Western world that Starkey confers upon him).
So what would have been the outcome if the Russian military professionals had been given proper delegated authority? Even more destruction? No. [Caveat: I'm working off the 1970-80's Red Army playbook which used to be my concern. But then again, so (probably) will the current generation of Russian generals.]
The first thing is that speed is always of the essence, and for that, you advance across a wide front avoiding towns, forests, mountains and bogs etc like the plague. Even if they harbour forces of resistance, you bypass and (de facto) encircle them, to be mopped up at leisure if they are to form part of what you decide, eventually, to hold. Otherwise they simply impose delay.
Exactly the same principle applies to any enemy strong-points you encounter along the way: you "fix" them and bypass. Surrounded, they will be bludgeoned by second-echelon forces in due course. By these clear-sighted and decisive means you aim to make maximum penetration along as wide a continuous front as possible in the least time. Some kind of finish-line will have been given in advance, or you may decide on a different halt-line based on unfolding circumstances. Back-filling to this new line is easy because you have the numbers to do so (in second- and third-echelon units): and the firepower in the first wave, coupled with air power and long range artillery, is sufficient to set up formidable defences along the line you have reached. Maybe you won't hold it all, but that's your choice, to be dictated by a combination of politics, the terrain, and what the enemy is doing in front of you. All in all, a fairly desirable outcome: and a lot quicker than what's going on today.
It's pretty clear this isn't what's happening. Why? I'm not sure inadequate numbers explains it (and if it does, so much for the brilliant strategy). As noted here several days ago, the forces we've seen deployed are using fairly ancient kit - but then again, it should be adequate for the task. Nor is it squeamishness - or even due caution - over the amount of destruction caused: the second-echelon "mopping-up" of bypassed towns mentioned above is entirely optional (less dramatic alternatives are available); and in the meantime the engagements will only be with the enemy's own military units, plus a little collateral damage to infrastructure.
I am left with my analogy with the other little guy who told his generals what to do in amateurish, self-defeating detail. No, not Napoleon - (who knew exactly what he was doing): the other one.