Washington has a really poor track record in anticipating military crises, so don’t be surprised if economic sanctions the U.S. has led the West in imposing on Russia appear to have backfired a year from now. Truth is, economic sanctions often provoke the opposite reaction from what policymakers are hoping for, making their targets more belligerent abroad and more oppressive at home. In Russia’s case, that could mean the next great threat to America’s survival. Just look at the unsettling mix of factors influencing Russian President Vladimir Putin: a paranoid political culture, a nuclear arsenal on hair trigger, a collapsing economy, a deep-seated sense of popular resentment against the West, and a superpower antagonist (America) that is highly vulnerable to Russian retaliation. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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