Michael McFaul analyzes the many angles of Russia’s approach to the Syrian conflict.
Even though arms control cannot prevent deliberate escalation, at least confidence-and-security-building measures could diminish the risk of unintended escalation. But the political realities in Moscow and Washington are not promising for conventional arms control in Europe.
NATO must signal to Moscow that any attempt by Russia for a landgrab in the Baltics would be met with a swift and overwhelming response.
Washington and Pyongyang will eventually need to resume direct talks. With neither party ready for that yet, at first secret contacts will have to be organized in third countries. In the meantime, de-escalation is the order of the day, and Russia one of its unlikely brokers.
The United States is still the leading power, yet this dominance is no longer uncontested. This contestation is coming in a big way from China and other countries.
The West should be worried about Moscow obfuscating the scope of its military exercises, but fears of an attack or invasion during Zapad-17 are overblown.
Russian military exercises along NATO’s Eastern flank will demonstrate Putin’s intent across the post-Soviet sphere.
Responsible nuclear states should work with the global nuclear industry to sustain strong nonproliferation, safety, and security practices in a market increasingly dominated by Russia and China.
For all its bellicose talk and new sanctions against Nicolás Maduro’s government, the Trump administration has been oddly silent about Russia’s role, perhaps preferring not to draw attention to the fact that Moscow is now the bankrupt nation’s lender of last resort.
While there is likely some truth to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s point that sanctions against North Korea would not be effective, nonetheless it is mostly a talking point.