What is Vladimir Putin's Vision for the World, and How Does America Fit Into it?
Starting with the illegal invasion of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, the Russian Federation has been increasing its militarily and diplomatically aggressive style of international relations, causing unrest of many parts of the world.
Does Vladimir Putin have a goal in mind with this poking, prodding, and stirring of the pot? According to national security analyst Frederick Kagan, Putin is seeking to restore the Russian empire that was lost at the end of the Cold War. In order to achieve that goal, he must undermine one of the biggest obstacles to the vision: the United States.
Vladimir Putin has set Russia on a collision course with America and the West. Putin sees Russians as heirs to a vast empire; an empire they lost with the fall of the Soviet Union. And the biggest obstacle to their restored greatness? The United States. So Putin seeks to regain control of the former Soviet states. He wants to create a world in which the US is just another country, rather than a global leader.
In pursuit of this goal, Putin is sowing a "Hobbesian" world of violence, lawlessness, and unrest. He has had no qualms with violating international law in numerous cases to sow discord and increase Russia's power on the global stage.
His seizure of Crimea was illegal. His occupation of eastern Ukraine – again illegal. Interference in US elections – illegal. Cyber attacks on Baltic countries – aggression. Deliberately bombing hospitals in Syria – that's a war crime.
As adamant as Putin is about his vision of restoring the Russian empire, the Russian Federation of today is not the USSR of the 20th century. The country's economy is about the same size as Australia's, and its population is shrinking.
In Kagan's assessment, the United States must once again resist the aggression from the Russian bear. Especially when the target is once again the United States, it's contingent upon the U.S. to counter such attacks on our nation.