Rightsizing Russia

The Power Vertical Podcast

powervertical · Rightsizing Russia

It has been described as a “gas station masquerading as a country,” as a nation that has “nuclear weapons…oil wells and nothing else,” and as a mere “regional power.” 

Despite the fact that Vladimir Putin’s regime has pulled off the first territorial annexation in Europe since World War II, successfully intervened in Syria to save the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and is rapidly militarizing Belarus on NATO’s Eastern flank,  the stubborn perception of Russia as a paper tiger persists.

And with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden focused on China — and hoping to park the Russia problem — it is a perception that has serious policy implications.

The thing about Russia is that it is never as strong as it appears — and it is never as weak as it appears. So how strong is Russia really? And how much policy attention should it be receiving?

On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, host Brian Whitmore speaks with Michael Kofman and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, co-authors of an important article in Foreign Affairs titled “The Myth of Russian Decline” to get some answers.

Listen here:

Rightsizing Russia

2 comments

  • Brian and his colleagues are right. Russia is a much bigger danger now than it has been under any of the dictators that followed Stalin. Especially but not exclusively to its neighbours.
    US foreign policy since the collapse of the SU has been patchy at best. In 1992 it donated $30 bn; a very large sum in those days. All of it was thieved. Yet the US has been constantly accused of being unforgiving and unhelpful to Russia in those days and since. No money was sent to Georgia or Ukraine at that time. Georgia was on the brink of collapse; no money, power for only a few hours per day and no jobs. Result being that many of its best young people left. Unfortunately never to return.
    Pro-Russia commenters since 2008 have always claimed that Russia is no threat to the west and anyway it is entitled to do whatever it likes with its neighbours. Which is exactly what it has done, with no pushback whatsoever.
    Brian is right to say that the Biden shitshow has “parked” Russia, to focus on China.
    The biggest threats to the world today are Russia, China, izlamofascism, global Marxism and the warmists, who are also Marxists.
    But the other threat is the creeping appeasement of the west, which varies between tolerance of putinazi evil and actual support, which we see from France and Germany.

    Liked by 3 people

  • “Despite the fact that Vladimir Putin’s regime has pulled off the first territorial annexation in Europe since World War II, successfully intervened in Syria to save the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and is rapidly militarizing Belarus on NATO’s Eastern flank, the stubborn perception of Russia as a paper tiger persists.”
    The success that mafia land enjoys is wholly due to the weakness of Western leadership … or rather, the willpower of mafia land’s goons is much stronger than those of Western “leaders”. That is the core of the problem.
    “The thing about Russia is that it is never as strong as it appears — and it is never as weak as it appears. So how strong is Russia really? And how much policy attention should it be receiving?”
    Mafia land has loud-mouthed blatherers, who rattle the nuclear and gas swords whenever it feels necessary to do so and the opponents in the West cringe every time this hapens. They pee their pants by the thought of having to defend themselves against mafia aggresion. The United States alone could demolish mafia military in any conventional war (if led by someone with balls and not the sad excuse of a “man” now squatting in the Yellow House whose greatest challenge is to choose the right cereal for breakfast).

    Liked by 3 people

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