Russia and the USA are two fundamentally different countries in how engage in the world. It seems that we can’t get along and Russia is gaining on us.
Maybe, in the long term, we’ll have a more envious position. But, it’s difficult to deny that’s something has gone awry with our Russian policy. We’ve lost control of the relationship. That rifle has floated way out of arm’s reach.
To the generalist, it appears as though the West hasn’t been inclusive and Russia is made to feel isolated. A cornered beast will strike back. Russia, in their perspective have two options: alligator tears or defend themselves aggressively. They’ve chosen the latter.
The generalist matters because the voters do influence overt foreign policy. They dictate the general trend and have the right to deny their support in future voting cycles. Nations like Russia and Iran, however, are less reliant on the public.
The Russians are meddlers and aggressive, to be sure. They’ve seen some light at the end of the tunnel and believe they’ll walk away unscathed. They might too. If we’re the super power with the ultimate hand to play, do have some responsibility for Russia’s recent behavior? However, recent information is coming forward tell us Russia has crossed the line. They’ve engaged in espionage – and tried to manipulate our presidential election. Their goal is to weaken the country. Here’s the claim. Whether or not it’s true, it does seem as Russia co-opted Trump to some degree. Even by default – because of the public perception – it’s a victory for the Russians.
It’s sophisticated information operations. It’s troubling when you see “Russia” scrolling the bottom of your screen when you’re watching the DNC. They’ve managed to create the sense that they’ve outgunned, outsmarted, and outmaneuvered the west. It could be true. But, what’s also true is that they’re belligerent. They do not share our standard of ethics and conduct. Simply put, the same rules do not apply.
The Russians are constantly doing what they can to gain pride and the upper hand. They’ll continue to do so unless they believe someone will stop them. Ronald Reagan was extremely tough on the Russians and the stance seemed to work. A concern with both presidents is not will they or can they present tough rhetoric to the Russians, but will the Russians take them seriously? Do the Russians praise Trump because they fear Clinton? Only time will tell. But, whatever they’re doing, they have a good reason.
Although we’ve often gotten involved in foreign affairs misguidedly, it seems, I’ve never experienced an American policy on the ground that wasn’t for the better. I also don’t believe one with malicious intent exists. It’s not a break some eggs to make an omelette for the better, either. Maybe there’s high politics playing that game. But, on the ground and in real time, there are conscientious people making the best decision they can and gathering the best information they can for policy makers.
Maybe there’s an over-reliance on the work of those dedicated and hardworking folks in the field of our national security infrastructure. Because Russia seems, on face value, somewhat to the opposite, where they have relatively few in the field, and play a heavy hand at high politics. They play games, they’re provocative. We’re reactive and try to make large scale policy decisions while befriending everyone unless they’ve declared war against us.
The Russians may have a strong sense of what they can and cannot do. They have a knack for going long. The Russians have also been reckless as of late. While we’re still trying to keep our foreign policy portfolio above the line. The fundamental difference is they often act with malicious intent and we almost never do.
Featured image courtesy of Russia Direct.