At no time since the fall of the Soviet Union has the threat from Russia been as serious - and Washington's relations with Moscow been as poor - as in the fall of 2016. As charges fly that Russia is trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election by leaking Democratic e-mails and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump accuse each other of having inappropriate ties to the Russian government, the questions about where Vladimir Putin is taking his country and what that will mean for ours have largely gone unasked, ...
At no time since the fall of the Soviet Union has the threat from Russia been as serious - and Washington's relations with Moscow been as poor - as in the fall of 2016. As charges fly that Russia is trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election by leaking Democratic e-mails and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump accuse each other of having inappropriate ties to the Russian government, the questions about where Vladimir Putin is taking his country and what that will mean for ours have largely gone unasked, let alone answered. Putin's Reset: The Bear is Back and How America Must Respond is an effort to address just such questions, drawing upon the expertise of some of the most competent and creative Russian hands and security policy practitioners of our time. Thanks in part to the malfeasance of the Obama administration - evident in its initial, doomed effort to "reset" relations with the Kremlin and what flowed from it - Russia has become a major player in the Middle East over the last eight years and is expanding its influence at the expense of the United States. Moscow is forging new alliances around the world to promote its influence and undermine the United States, especially with China and Iran. Russia's growing influence and the perception that it is a more reliable power than the United States has even led Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to strengthen Israel's ties to Russia. At the same time, there have been major improvements in Russia's ballistic missiles, air defenses and strategic and tactical nuclear forces. Moscow is improving its navy and striking deals for port access for its fleet around the world. Russia has deployed one of its most advanced missile systems in Syria to help protect and secure victory for its partner, the genocidal Bashar al-Assad. It also has sold advanced ground-to-air missiles to Iran, which Tehran is using to prevent possible Israeli and even U.S. airstrikes against a facility likely continuing the mullahs' clandestine nuclear bomb-making program. The days of Russia's almost comical invasion of Georgia in 2008 - when Russian troops crossed the border sitting on top of dilapidated armored personnel carriers - are over. Today, the Red Army was on display with its stealthy and swift seizure in 2014 of Crimea by special operations forces and, subsequently, similar initiatives aimed at intervening in and subverting the pro-Western government of Ukraine. Russia is increasingly using its military to threaten and menace the United States and U.S. allies, as well. Russian jets have been harassing American naval vessels and planes. Russian jets and bombers have infringed on the air space of the United States, Canada, Turkey, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden, among others. These incidents are raising fears by some former Soviet states that the Russian military could soon meddle in their countries as it has in Ukraine. It is hard to overstate the cumulative impact and portentousness of all these actions. In his contribution to this collection of essays, noted Russia expert Dr. Stephen Blank depicts the situation with this grim warning: "Putin's Russia is preparing for war against the U.S. and NATO. Putin would prefer to win without fighting, but he is prepared to use force and apparently escalate to nuclear weapons use if it is necessary and in Russia's interests. He must be deterred. We are not doing nearly enough to do so." The other distinguished national security experts who contributed to this book have reached a similar conclusion: the threat from Russia is growing as it gears up, at best, for a do-over of the Cold War. At worst, it is creating what the Soviets used to call "a correlation of forces" that will enable the Kremlin to engage decisively in actual hostilities against the United States.
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