Russian Decline Is a Myth

The Biden administration came into office with a clear and unambiguous foreign policy priority: countering a rising China. The administration’s public statements, its early national security planning documents, and its initial diplomatic forays have all suggested that pushing back against Beijing’s growing global influence will be Washington’s national security focus, alongside transnational threats such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The question of how to deal with Russia, by contrast, has taken a back seat, returning to the fore only when Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s border in April. That crisis served as a reminder of the danger of looking past Moscow—yet by July, President Joe Biden was back to declaring that Russia was “sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else.”

 

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