On Putin’s Right Flank

    Lyle J. Goldstein

    Security, Europe

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an awarding ceremony, marking the Day of Russia, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2018. Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via REUTERS

    A broadside is leveled against Russia’s president from the military sector.

    American strategists have good reason to be confounded with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Somehow, operating on a defense budget that is approximately 10 percent of that of the United States’, he has managed to make Russia matter a great deal in world affairs. There is a genuine threat that Moscow is outpacing the United States in advanced military and nuclear strike technologies, and that Russia has the military means to have its way both in the Arctic as well as in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, there is the odd reality that Putin’s opinions on various Middle East crises seem to matter more than those of the U.S. President. Never mind that major American partners, from Japan to South Korea to Israel to India seem completely unwilling to follow Washington’s lead into a new Cold War with Moscow. Last but not least, there is the Russia-China partnership that seems to be developing solid momentum as demonstrated by Putin’s June 2018 visit to China.

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