by Brandon J. Weichert
The aging Russian bear is yet again prowling the forests of Eastern Europe. From the Baltics to the Nordic states—and everything in between—European leaders are girding themselves for inevitable conflict with Moscow. Since 2007, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to challenge America’s unipolar world order, Russia has engaged in a series of military campaigns aimed at breaking U.S. influence in what Moscow belligerently calls its “Near-Abroad” (mainly Eastern Europe and the Caucasus but also parts of the Middle East). Russia has further extended its reach in places farther afield, such as Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific.
The good news is that the Russian threat today is nowhere near as potent as it was during the Cold War. Still, the Russians are able to threaten the world with advanced missile technology, the world’s largest nuclear weapons stockpile, and they have significant capabilities in cyberspace, space, and in the realm of public diplomacy.
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