Putin’s South American Trip Hides Russia’s Strategic Weaknesses

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 12, 2014 (AP photo by Eduardo Di Baia).
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 12, 2014 (AP photo by Eduardo Di Baia).
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Although Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to South America earlier this month was overshadowed by events in Ukraine and the Middle East, it did garner considerable attention in the South American and Russian media. Even in Washington, commentators saw Putin as seeking to circumvent the Western opposition to his policies in Ukraine as well as retaliate for U.S. involvement in Moscow’s neighboring states with a tit-for-tat display of influence in Washington’s strategic backyard. Putin began his visit in Cuba on July 11, where he finalized plans to eliminate 90 percent of Cuba’s Cold War-era debt to Russia—more than $30 billion […]

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