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July 4, 2015

Russia as Biggest Threat to International Order (Even if It Doesn’t Mean It)

As international menaces go, the Islamic State group has stolen headlines from Russia, but that doesn’t mean Vladimir Putin has gone away as a threat. But how much of a threat is he, and why?

“It should be the determined goal of the United States government and other like-minded governments around the world that victory for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine is just not an option. Borders should not be violated or changed by force,” said former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, now president of the Brookings Institution, a think tank. “If he were to get away with that it would establish a precedent that would wreak havoc around the world.”

But Clifford Gaddy, a senior fellow at Brookings, said that while it might appear that overthrowing the current world order to re-establish the old superpower Soviet Union is Putin’s aim, it’s probably not about that.

“I don’t think that’s his goal,” said Gaddy, speaking at the same Brookings event as Talbott on Wednesday. “One thing he doesn’t want and hasn’t shown an inclination to have is global leadership.”

Gaddy said Putin is and always has been a “Russia first-er,” and everything he has done as leader of his country has been about that. That’s why he has pushed back against enlarging NATO near its border, and why he has reacted negatively to the notion of U.S. intervention in places where Russia has interests, like Syria. And that Russia-first stance it’s why he’s comfortable allowing the United States to play international policeman, Gaddy said, just so long as Russia can still do what it wants and its interests aren’t affected.

Talbott said it’s too bad Russia has gone this direction not just because of the bad international precedent it sets, but because the nation could be a helpful player on the world stage.

“We in the international community really need Russia as the largest territorial state, with its extraordinarily talented and productive population, that was on its way to being a part of the solution to the world’s problems, to again be a part of the solution,” he said.

“The immediate issue is, is he going to accept defeat,” Talbott said, “or declare victory and go home?” Putin can back down or double down, Talbott said: “He doesn’t strike me as someone who backs down.”

Comments (6)

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  1. verelll

    Aug. 20, 2014
    11:33 p.m.

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  2. Edmund Cornu

    Aug. 21, 2014
    5:05 a.m.

    This article is full of the usual misinformation supplied by the US and its allies.
    You know very well that Nato, the EU and the US all promised not to hassle the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe by rushing to sign them up and threatening Russia. Well, they broke that promise and destabilisation of relations with Russia. What did you expect ?

    Don’t upset your neighbours if you want a quiet life. Russia is just doing the minimum whilst being a good European citizen – yes, russia is a european country – to maintain its dignity and rebuff the disrepect that is shown to it unfairly.

    The sanctions will do more damage to the EU and other suppliers than to Russia. It actually helps to bring on the change to global finance built on the bricso which will mark the 21st century.

  3. Davo333

    Aug. 21, 2014
    6:47 a.m.

    Considering that it is the US that is now the biggest threat to world peace this article is just a bit of US propaganda to point the finger at someone else. However the world is changing with World Bank figures using the much more accurate PPP method to calculate GDP showing that during the first half of 2014 the US became the world’s second biggest economy and is forecast to be only half the size of China in 10 years time! India is 50% bigger than Japan and Russia is the same as Germany while half of the top 8 economies of the world are now BRIC countries. The US is going to bankrupt itself trying to keep up with China.

  4. drako

    Aug. 22, 2014
    7:22 a.m.

    this creepy message brought to you by your NWO masters

  5. Ding Bat

    Sept. 1, 2014
    2:27 p.m.

    To the world Putin has shown much restraint and is a HERO.
    USA and EU are an evil menace that is creating conflicts around the world.
    Much discussion worldwide has led to one conclusion …. USA will be stopped forcefully at all costs.
    The world and its people will not accept a corrupt policeman.
    USA is not fit to play any leading role on this planet.
    Don’t be surprised if little green men pop up on US soil.

  6. Ding Bat

    Sept. 1, 2014
    4:11 p.m.

    Russia says there is a risk that gas shortages this winter could force
    Ukraine to siphon off supplies of Russian gas meant for EU customers.

    Lets see how loud EU barks this winter or will it be howling in pain?

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