Washington seems to believe that isolating Russia from the world economy will compel the Kremlin to align more with American interests. However, this belief is premised on the idea that there is no alternative to SWIFT or the Western economic order.
Even in the very beginning, Putin owed his popularity to his wartime policies. His handling of the Chechen Wars at the turn of the century earned him widespread support at the end of a period of severe economic decline under his controversial predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.
It should be no surprise to anyone in Washington when Russia invades or uses pro-Russian actors as proxies to prevent Western encroachment into its sphere. Over seven years removed from the annexation of Crimea, it is a fool’s errand to continually try to attribute blame to Russia when many actors are clearly responsible.
Russia does not possess enough latent power to seek military entanglement, but it might not have to if the U.S. and China were to fight a long and costly war. Russia would be thrilled with a conflict that saps the strengths of both its largest competitors.
A shooting scenario must be taken seriously. It could happen one of two ways. First, someone on the Belarussian side could provide one of the trapped, freshly traumatized and outraged migrants a gun and let them do what they will. Second, an agent provocateur could infiltrate a migrant camp to gesture threateningly or pull the trigger themselves.
Putin and Erdogan like to look friendly for the cameras, but Moscow and Ankara oppose each other in almost every regional conflict in which they are involved. Their friendship is not meant to last.
On the surface, Sino-Russian cooperation speaks to some level of improving relations and expanding capabilities. But what does that truly mean for the US?
The Realist Review is pleased to provide this briefer courtesy of the Alliance for Citizen Engagement (ACE).
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