- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Everything I see about Putin tells me that he is a classic short-term thinker. For example, if he were positioning Russia for the long term, he’d be looking for strength and stability, cozying up to Europe. Instead, he is alienating it.
This thought is re-provoked today by an article by a Norwegian frigate skipper in the November issue of Proceedings about the decaying state of the Russian navy. But instead of shrinking it and fixing what remains, Putin is looking to make a splash: “It is likely that Russia will give priority to a few capital ship projects, which more likely will be prestigious status symbols rather than a robust power projection and expeditionary force. If political ambitions are taken too far, massive investments aiming to create a credible blue-water navy would deplete the budgets and could result in a decaying fleet again.”
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