The Russian Bear Roars Again
We detect a distinct theme among recent analyses of Russia's foreign policy. While commentators are all over the map in their assessment of the rectitude of Russia's foreign policy as implemented by President Putin, a critical mass of opinion-shapers that at least grudingly recognize a kind of brilliance in Russian foreign policy seems to have coalesced.
We offer as evidence for this first -- and, yes, foremost -- today's commentary in WPR by Marissa Payne. She writes that, in its foreign relations, Russia is having its cake and eating it too -- or, as they say in Russia "The wolves are full and the sheep are still alive":
The second piece of evidence for this new zeitgeist vis-a-vis Russia comes courtesy of today's Asia Times. In "Moscow Plays Its Cards Strategically," F. William Engdahl emphasizes how Russia has been using its energy resources as a lever. Like Payne, he concludes that Europe and especially Washington have been outclassed strategically by Putin's shrewd realpolitik:
And, finally, the new issue of The American Interest contains at least two articles that could be submitted as evidence in our case. But we'll confine our comments to the one that is offered for free online. In "The Bear is Back," Paul Dibb argues that Russia "is not finished as a major power":
As to the way, four factors combine to give rise to the largerpicture. First, the Russian economy has bounced back and, given theworld's likely increased demand for energy in the decades ahead,Russian fossil fuel assets are almost certainly going to rise sharplyin value. Second, the Russian Federation is a large country with ahighly educated citizenry. In an age where human capital is a fargreater predictor of national vitality than raw population numbers, thequality of Russia's people can and likely will outweigh any issues withquantity. Third, in military terms, Russia has the potential tosurprise the world with technological breakthroughs. And fourth,perhaps less "material" but no less important a factor, Russia findsitself in a position to ally with a wider range of powers than anyother major state. Power, of course, is relative, so the benefits ofbeing able to integrate an intelligent diplomacy into a broadernational policy should not be underestimated.
Might Washington have something to learn from Russia as to the benefits of both an "intelligent diplomacy" and an integrated grand strategy? We'll let you draw your own conclusions.