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U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, at the White House, Washington, May 10, 2017 (Russian Foreign Ministry via AP).

How to Deter Russia From Meddling in Democracies

Friday, May 12, 2017

In recent years, Russia has learned how to punch above its weight in the global security system, exercising influence out of proportion to its actual political, economic and military strength. It has done this through ruthless skill and willingness to adopt almost any method that advances its interests while limiting the risk.

Moscow has developed—even mastered—what national security experts call “gray zone” methods based on slowly emerging aggression that combines a wide array of techniques. These include conventional military intimidation, cyberattacks, economic warfare, political-psychological operations by Moscow’s extensive army of online trolls, and alliances with political and criminal proxies of many types. “The goal,” according to national security expert Michael Mazarr, is to “destroy the morale of adversaries” while staying below the level that would provoke outside intervention. ...

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