January 21, 2013

Russia: From Superpower to Super Weakling

Alexei Bayer, Moscow Times

AP Photo

Today's Russia is a strange paradox. The country and its people are better off than at any time since at least the Bolshevik Revolution. But its great financial wealth coexists with remarkable weakness. True, it still has a large army and a nuclear arsenal capable of ending life on Earth. But by most measures of modern power, Russia is a lightweight. It has almost no influence in the world beyond some poor, backward former Soviet republics. It has no meaningful allies with whom it shares interests and pursues coordinated policies. It may be able to play the spoiler by thwarting international cooperation on Syria or Iran, but it can play no constructive role or be a broker with those nations. It is neither feared nor respected.

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