A Philosopher's Blog

Is Russia a Threat to the United States?

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on February 27, 2008

A common view is that Russia ceased to be a viable threat to the United States when the Soviet Union fell apart. While the fall of the Soviet Union did diminish Russia’s capabilities, it did not eliminate them. Russia still possesses a significant nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal. No doubt many of the Russian weapon systems are still targeted at the United States (although Russia recently threatened to target the Ukraine) and this obviously still presents a threat to the United States.

It might be argued that while Russia is still well armed, her leaders have no intentions that would threaten the United States. This seems to be unlikely. Russia has been showing clear signs that it has not lost the desire to be a world power and a major player and has done so in ways that put it at odds with the United States. If Russia is going to ascend once more, it almost certainly be at the expense of the United States. This, naturally enough, positions Russia as a potential threat.

Are the Russians likely to attack America? This seems unlikely, given the behavior of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. What I think we can expect to see is a gradual return to some of the hidden conflict of the Cold War as Russia makes deals with countries hostile to America, steps up its espionage efforts and makes trouble for American allies.

One lesson I recall from my days in political science is that Russia has always historically sought to create a buffer zone between itself and potential enemies-hence the formation of the Soviet Union.   Given that Russia has been a favorite target for invaders (Napoleon and Hitler being the most recent) their view is actually quite understandable. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has lost its buffer. Further, the countries around it have been acting in ways that the Russians seem to dislike (hence the recent blustering about targeting Ukraine with nuclear weapons). If Russia follows the historical pattern, then trouble awaits on the horizon.

As we get mired down further into the war on terror, we certainly should not forget about the Russians.

6 Responses

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  1. magus71 said, on February 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    The Russian mind never changed after the Cold War ended, and the country never fully retired its acceptance of corruption. Putin is an Old School Soviet, and anyone who believed that he experienced an epiphany since his election, suffers from extreme naivete’.

    Still, in my mind, Jihadism presents a more difficult problem for the West.

    1) Jihadists are, by nature, irrational. Death is what they desire in most cases, and the more spectacular their demise, the more likely that they have gained Allah’s approval. And if not Allah, then most certainly the media will be there to witness their atrocities and will bring them the attention they so desire.

    2) Russia, while strong, is no match militarily for the West. And being rational, it’s doubtful that they would launch an attack of any sort against prime Western interests. What is more like, is that they will use rhetoric and psychological warfare–something which the Russians are masters of. Their rhetoric will predictably gain the attention and even applause of some on the left here, which could lead to political decisions to ignore a Russian military buildup.

    Of course we must remain vigilant, watching Russia, but at the same time offering cooperation. We must not show weakness, but neither aggression of our own. Weakness is only held in regard by a few ideologues and intellectuals (Pseudo) in this country. Everywhere else, and throughout history, weakness resulted in a culture’s demise.

  2. hillbilly said, on April 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    your so full of crap russians are little babies
    they cant even spell right

  3. Angele Oborny said, on December 18, 2016 at 5:11 am

    learn to fly

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