Another Russia is possible

By | August 30, 2022

Dmitri Alperovitch and Sergey Radchenko write:

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine drags on and realigns global geopolitics, the United States needs to review and revise its long-term strategy toward Russia. The primary focus of this strategy, not unlike the original Cold War–era strategy of containment articulated by George Kennan in this magazine 75 years ago, must once again be a “patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.”

During the Cold War, the United States sought to check the expansionist impulses of the Soviet Union without engaging in direct military confrontation, waiting until the unnatural Soviet regime in Moscow collapsed. Today, the objective of containing Russia is different, since it would be naive to expect Russia to disintegrate as the Soviet Union did. As Kennan himself recognized, “The Soviet Union will not last, but Russia will.”

Instead, the United States must work diligently to hold back Russia’s expansionism in Europe and elsewhere until the Russian leadership—either the current one or some future iteration—realizes that its destructive imperial tendencies are leading it to the bleak future of becoming a vassal of China. Increasingly cut off from the West, Moscow will become beholden to Beijing as a trade partner and key international patron, a relationship not between equals but between a supplicant and a benefactor. Such a reckoning with its dependence on China might cause the Kremlin to rethink its pursuit of malign anti-Western policies and restrain its aggressiveness. [Continue reading…]

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