Russian SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in international waters in the Black Sea late in May, just days after the Royal Air Force scrambled to intercept nuclear-capable Bear bombers near British airspace. These dangerous Russian games of chicken are now regular occurrences and come hard upon a Russian threat in March to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system.
As tensions between the West and Moscow sharpen over Ukraine, NATO countries have seen a dramatic spike in provocative actions that risk a harrowing accident or devastating miscalculation. A NATO-Russia military-to-military dialogue would reduce these risks — if President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin allow it.… Seguir leyendo »
President Vladimir Putin understands how insurgencies work better than any other Russian leader. We are watching this play out right now in Ukraine.
Before Putin took power, Moscow had long struggled to suppress rebel movements. In the 1980s, for example, the Soviet Union grappled with the Muslim mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Moscow propped up the beleaguered Kabul government with an invasion and occupation — to little avail. After 10 years of grueling conflict, Moscow withdrew, just as the Soviet Union fell apart. A few years later, rebels inflicted another serious blow against the Russian military, in the Russian province of Chechnya. Chechen militants launched attacks deep into Russia.… Seguir leyendo »
The United States is on a dangerous trajectory in its relations with Russia, a nuclear superpower that believes itself to be under direct threat. Several former U.S. officials and top think-tank experts released a report calling on the West to provide military support to Ukraine. (Two of them, our colleagues at the Brookings Institution, expanded on the report a week ago on this page [“Ukraine needs the West’s help now”].) The logic of sending weapons to Ukraine seems straightforward and is the same as the logic for economic sanctions: to change Vladimir Putin’s “calculus.” Increasing the Ukrainian army’s fighting capacity, the thinking goes, would allow it to kill more rebels and Russian soldiers, generating a backlash in Russia and ultimately forcing the Russian president to the negotiating table.… Seguir leyendo »
El improbable ascenso de Vladimir Putin al pináculo del poder ruso en 1999-2000 fue en parte el resultado de un consenso de elites sobre la importancia de restablecer el orden en el estado ruso después de una década de crisis doméstica y humillación internacional. Su ascenso era improbable, porque Putin no era un político de carrera, sino alguien cuya visión del mundo estaba forjada por su experiencia en la KGB, una institución que operaba más allá del escrutinio público y sin miedo de restricciones legales o de otro tipo.
La visión del mundo de Putin, sin embargo, dista de ser única en Rusia.… Seguir leyendo »
The Obama administration has decided it’s time to “reset the reset” with Russia. The reset was one of the administration’s first foreign policy initiatives in 2009 and certainly reduced bilateral tensions for a period. But President Obama now faces Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president instead of Dmitri Medvedev, and the entire premise of U.S.-Russia relations will have to be reviewed.
After 12 years at the top of Russian politics, Putin should be a known quantity. But policy makers and pundits are constantly diverted by the images that proliferate inside and outside Russia — from the action man tranquilizing tigers and flying with cranes, to the cruel anti-American autocrat who exploits orphans to undermine U.S.… Seguir leyendo »