Hybrid War: Russia vs. the West
What Moscow is proposing is a renewed format of Cold War–era relations, when the two sides operated in full recognition of their obvious differences, contained each other’s expansion, and together wrote the rules needed to avoid a fatal collision.
Putin will probably be interested in assessing where Biden’s real concerns lie; where the sensitive areas may be in which mutual restraint, rather than unattainable compromise arrangements, may be the best way forward for now; and how the United States might act and respond under different scenarios.
The following is based on remarks that James Acton gave to journalists on June 10, 2021 ahead of the summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
The Biden administration does not want conflict in the Arctic, but the potential for tension in the region depends not only on the U.S. administration, but on the actions of Russia (and China) too.
The experience of the Soviet-American-British wartime coalition was unique and inimitable. Pulling the U.S.-Russian relationship back from the brink of confrontation to less antagonistic rivalry will only be possible in the event of major changes in the domestic politics of one or both countries.
Podcast host Alex Gabuev is joined by Andrey Movchan, a nonresident scholar in the Economic Policy Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, and Maria Shagina, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Eastern European Studies at the University of Zurich, to discuss the impact of Western sanctions on the Russian economy.
The deliberate stoking of tensions to enable a show of strength followed by an equally deliberate retreat could become an everyday tool used in foreign policy: a regular swing of the pendulum between escalation and de-escalation.
With the weekend’s developments in the Czech Republic and Belarus, the new border between Russia and the West is calcifying, eliminating not only movement from one side to the other, but also the freedom not to choose a side.
Turkey has been sitting on two chairs, doing geopolitical business with Russia and calling on the United States on a case-by-case basis when interests happen to converge. Now the United States is giving Turkey a taste of its own medicine, and applying its own version of transactionalism.
For now, neither Russian business nor the government or society understands the problem of climate change and why they should be doing anything about it. This lack of understanding could ultimately be more damaging to the Russian economy than all the current Western sanctions.
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