At present, politicians both in "the West" and in Russia may well be under the most extreme pressure of their entire careers. How do they all keep cool heads, and reach decisions about what to do next, as part of the Ukraine crisis? How do they ensure their next move best serves their own interests, while avoiding escalation and keeping as many options open as possible, especially that of diplomacy?
I can't believe that, for example, when the US president meets with his advisors, he is surrounded just by a bunch of trigger-happy gunslingers who would, if they could, always shoot first and ask questions later/never. Similarly, I cannot imagine that, when the Russian president meets with his advisors, they all down a few bottles of vodka first and only then get to work (Please excuse the stereotypes). Surely it's much more professional than that. Do both sides carefully weigh the risks of their decisions, including the potential risk of a nuclear confrontation, however "small"? Do they make every effort to consider the possible long-term consequences of what they do today?
I guess what I am asking, is: Are there reliable protocols in place which ensure that no politician can ever act on impulse alone, and that decisions are thought through before they are made final? Does the framework of political decision-making guarantee that?
Sometimes, it feels politicians make stupid moves, at least from the perspective of laypeople (and even some pundits). That's probably just the nature of politics. But surely politicians and their advisors know everything we know. Surely they never lose sight of the bigger picture - right?