The Russia Threat

Several weeks ago, I posted a blog that talked about our new national security paradigm, focused specifically on the “4+1 construct.” This new way of looking at threats to our nation focuses on “four contingencies and one condition.” Russia is one of those contingencies.

If there is one nation, and one leader, who makes it a practice to “poke” at the United States, it’s Russia’s Vladimir Putin. There has been an avalanche of media reporting on the fraught relationship between Russia and the West, including this front-page piece in Sunday’s New York Times entitled, “Putin and Merkel: A Rivalry of History, Distrust and Power.” You can read this compelling piece here

First, there are longstanding issues between the West, and especially the United States and Russia. Among the most prominent:

  • Long-standing enmity against the West
  • Views the United States as the architect of containment
  • A deep, visceral desire to change the global order (zero-sum)
  • Demonstrated willingness to attack neighbors with kinetic or cyber-attacks: Georgia, Estonia, Crimea, Ukraine
  • Murders of political opponents and dissidents (Litvinenko)

But in addition to these long-standing issues, since the fall of 2015, Russia is behaving in ways that worry the United States. Among the biggest issues:

  • Overt support for Assad’s regime in Syria
  • Hacking of U.S. election returns
  • Recent stepped-up military incursions in Ukraine
  • Stepped up military exercises around NATO’s periphery (Baltics)

Worrisome signs. Stay tuned to this blog over the next several weeks to learn more about other threats to our national security.