Do you continue to beat down your enemy when he is on the backfoot or do you allow him to retreat in dignity?
“Double down,” says Liz Truss Ben Wallace is clearly at the hawkish end.
Inclusion of Crimea, which Russia annexed 2014 in a move that is not internationally recognized. Even though the defense secretary admits that there are still many steps to be taken before Ukraine retakes Crimea.
Their supporters will declare that strength and defiance will be the only languages Vladmir Putin will hear.
Ms Truss claims that Putin is a “desperate, rogue operator without any interest in international norms”.
To ensure Ukraine’s victory, she wants heavy weapons.
The Russian leader also warned against any other intervention in the conflict, threatening retaliatory strikes “lightning quick”.
He said that they would use them “if necessary” and wanted everyone to know this.
Russia is more powerful than the West, this is what the implication is. Putin has already threatened to use nuclear weapons.
Ms Truss, however, is not in the mood to give Russians a quarter.
She says, “This is the time to be courageous and not to be cautious.”
Critics wonder if this is intelligent diplomacy.
Analysts believe that Putin should be granted a ladder to save his face, and not more incendiary rhetoric to justify the war.
They claim that their hardline comments will aid his media mouthpieces to spread the line NATO is out for Russia.
However, this assumes he wants to find a way out. Putin does not like losing.
It will make him less political and could even prove fatal. There is nothing to be proud of, except for the moment he places a flag in Mariupol’s rubble and declares it a victory.
An alternative is to wage a long, grueling war of attrition. Experts in military affairs say it could take months. Ms Truss suggests that it could take years.
Given Russia’s troop loss, it would be necessary to call for general conscription. To make that happen, Putin would almost certainly have to declare war on the “special military operations” he claims he is fighting.
This path could prove to be extremely dangerous due to the potential loss of many lives. This will be a big gamble for Russia’s president, and western politicians are trying to discourage him from doing it.