Putin touts Russia as a great power. But he’s made it a weak one.

07 Jun 2019

(WP Global Opinions) From Venezuela to Syria to Ukraine, Moscow is playing an assertive role in global affairs. Observers often give Vladimir Putin the credit for bringing Russia “back” as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage — despite his country’s acknowledged weakness. Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright expressed a common view in a recent interview: Putin, she said, “is playing a weak hand very well internationally.”

Yet that analysis betrays a fundamental flaw. Power in global politics is not dealt from a deck of cards but is a function of state policy. Putin has now been leading his country for almost 20 years. If anyone has made Russia’s hand weak, it’s him. [...]

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