Is Russia the West’s Potential Partner, Rival, Adversary—or Even Enemy?

Belarusian and Russian troops take part in the Zapad 2017, or West 2017, military exercises at the Borisovsky range, Borisov, Belarus, Sept. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Sergei Grits).
Belarusian and Russian troops take part in the Zapad 2017, or West 2017, military exercises at the Borisovsky range, Borisov, Belarus, Sept. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Sergei Grits).
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Russia kicked off much-anticipated military exercises this week involving either 12,700 troops—the upper limit to avoid a treaty-required NATO observation mission—or more than 100,000, depending on whether you believe the Kremlin or NATO officials. The live-fire Zapad 2017, or West 2017, exercises, conducted jointly with Belarus, portray a conflict with unidentified Western forces in a scenario that, again, is either a defensive operation or an invasion, depending on who you believe. In either case, despite an almost deadly missile misfire, the drills are being rightly billed as a showcase for Russia’s decade-long military modernization initiative. Launched following the disappointing performance […]

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