Russia’s Future and the West

In international politics, one side’s strength often reflects the other side’s weakness. The weakness of the US and Europe today is an open invitation for Russia to return to its old imperial politics, which would be particularly dangerous for Europe.

Russia is again seeking a role as a global power and is therefore flexing its muscles. Signs of change in Russian foreign policy have been mounting ever since President Vladimir Putin delivered a confrontational speech in Munich last February.

Since then Russia planted its flag on the seabed below the North Pole to demonstrate its claims to the Arctic and its natural resources; announced its intention to build its own missile defense system and issued repeated threats against Europe because of the planned deployment of a small American defense system; exploded a “stray” missile or bomb in Georgia as a warning signal to the government in Tbilisi and its Western friends; buzzed America’s military base on the Pacific island of Guam with surveillance aircraft; blocked a decision on the final status of Kosovo in the UN Security Council; and launched a hacker attack against computer systems in Estonia. In addition, each winter there is a repeated threat of “problems” with oil and gas deliveries to Europe.

High oil and gas prices, America’s self-inflicted global weakening due to its misadventure in Iraq, and the rise of China and India obviously have prompted Moscow to change its foreign policy. Yet none of this amounts to a fundamental change in Russia’s strategy, because Russia continues to adhere to its fundamental decision, made in the early 1990’s, to open itself to the West. Still, the style of Russian politics has changed from cooperation to confrontation. And, as history has shown, a change of style in foreign policy may quickly lead to a change in strategy.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/kjKrMKh;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now