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Putting the Russian Bear in Perspective: New at Reason

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 5:17
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How much of a threat is Russia?

Marian Tupy writes:

In recent months, much has been written about the dismal relations between the United States and Russia. The latter has carved up Ukraine and helped Bashar al-Assad to triumph in the Syrian civil war. More relevant to the United States was Russia’s apparent attempt to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election by releasing thousands of hacked DNC emails (a charge that Russia denies). Whatever the case may be, Russia once again looms large in America’s collective psyche and calls to get tough with America’s old adversary abound.

It might be useful, therefore, to put the Russian bear in proper perspective. With some 5,000 nuclear warheads and close to 800,000 men under arms, Russia remains a potent adversary. But, as the Cold War showed, military might is, in the long run, dependent on economic performance. Considering Russia’s economic problems, it is not a given that the country will be able to sustain its aggressive international posturing indefinitely.

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