Please join us for another interesting breakfast forum:
WHITHER RUSSIA? WHITHER PUTIN?
Tyrus W. Cobb
The Ramada, Wednesday, April 23, at 9:00 am
From the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, elements of the old regime have sought to reclaim the place the USSR once held in the world’s eyes, one of two great superpowers and the leader of the global Communist movement. From the perspective of former KGB Colonel and now again President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, Russia must regain its lost power and the respect the USSR held. It must stifle domestic dissent, rebuild a patriotic fervor internally, eliminate competing sectors of influence, become a force again in global political decisions, and restore much of what the former Soviet Union represented and held.
Putin certainly knows that he cannot resurrect the old USSR. However, he strongly feels that Moscow must be able to dominate developments in the “Near Abroad”—the regions formerly part of the Soviet Union close to Russia and now drifting to tighter relationships with the West. Most importantly this includes Ukraine, part of which—the Crimea—Putin has already seized. Recent troop movements and covert actions indicate that he may have designs on the heavily Russian eastern and southern sectors of Ukraine. Indeed, the seizures of government buildings in that region by elements without military designations, but obviously acting on behalf of Moscow, along with the continuing massing of troops on the Russian side of the border, may indicate a replication of the annexation of Crimea soon. It may also mean the Baltic States, the “Stans”, the Caucasus entities, and Byelorussia are future targets.
Putin, however, is not dealing from a position of strength. His country is confronting severe economic challenges and remains precariously dependent on the export of oil and gas. The country is facing a challenging demographic future, one in which Russians may soon not even be a majority in their own country! While still a nuclear power, Moscow’s military is far from the formidable force the West confronted during the Cold War.
In this tense environment, what policies should the United States and its allies adopt to confront the “resurgent” and “revanchist’ Russia? Is the West cohesive enough to take a determined stand against Putin and Russia?
Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.
Dr. Cobb is a former Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Affairs (1988-89) and Director of Soviet and European Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.