"Ukrainians would be furious that they’d be giving up territory that was rightfully theirs, and that Russia would be rewarded for a brutal invasion."

Ukraine is an arbitrary line on a map and most of the people behind Russian lines are Russians that don't particularly like Kiev. Other than hatred of Russians and wanting to stick it to them, nobody really gives a damn who controls some shelled out villages in the Donbass. Life will be essentially the same for those people whether they are ruled by Moscow or Kiev.

It's pretty clear that if you gave Russia all of the territory is controls right now the war would be considered a big failure by them. That was true from about a month into the war. Face saving would be done but they are never trying this again.

Ukraine has a conscript army and men aren't allowed to leave. We don't have a clue what they would be willing to fight for or be enraged about if they were actually free to leave. People who are stuck in a situation often make up rationales for what they are stuck doing.

I think the #1 true desire for everyone involved is for the war to end. Soildiers pretend they care about terms but they will not give a damn a year after its over.

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Two notes:

>> "Face saving would be done but they are never trying this again."

Failure in a war can also increase the desire to try again, to undo the embarrassment. WW1 / 2 fit this dynamic.

>> Soldiers pretend they care about terms but they will not give a damn a year after its over.

We can't know for sure, but it's also far from obvious that at this moment that Ukrainians would just accept their government signing over the taken territory for nothing but peace, without internal conflict. Ukraine's leaders are likely the best judges of that.

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Not every historical situation is WW2. Quite frankly, I think we should acknowledge what a fluke it was.

Japan and Germany are our allies. Korea isn't trying to invade South Korea. Vietnam isn't trying to invade the west coast. Iraq didn't do much of anything after the gulf war (until we invaded them).

It's perfectly normal for countries to evaluate data and update priors. War is in essence where differing assumptions go to get corrected in the crucible of material reality.

If Putin were Hitler he wouldn't have taken twenty year to reluctantly start a regional conflict after having his arm twisted.

We need to separate contextual public opinion from actual public opinion.

Overwhelming majorities supported BLM and defund the police a day after George Floyd died. Now pro-police candidates are winning in basically every hard left metro area. There is core public opinion (I dislike disorder and chaos) and temporary and contextual public opinion (I am angry about a video I saw).

Japanese were willing to have their entire country obliterated in 1945 and shortly after they were the world biggest pacifist.

In general I think that average people don't want to die for things that won't really change their lives all that much. They can be risen into a moral panic with propaganda but then later they regret it. The people in WWI almost entirely and most of WWII both felt this way.

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Valid points about transient vs baseline public opinion, though of course just because one will fade doesn't make it ignorable in the short run.

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