Op-ed: Keep your eyes on Russia for an August surprise of Putin’s making
For all the legitimate focus on rising U.S.-Chinese tensions, this summer’s sleeper surprise for the West is more likely to emerge from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
That’s because the built-in contradictions between Russia’s international ambition and domestic rot that have always characterized Putin’s rule, now into its 21st year, are coming to head in a manner that provides him both greater opportunity and peril.
The brutal effectiveness of his thugocracy state is increasing, with a military modernization that includes a newly detected test of anti-satellite space weapons, highly publicized advances in hypersonic technologies, and worldwide intelligence operations that effectively employ advanced technology and a lower-tech army of mercenaries.
At the same time, the weakness of his demographically aging, economically ossifying Covid-hit country continues to grow in the wake of lower oil prices. The World Bank projects a 6% decline in Russian GDP in 2020 in a country that already had 12.3% …continued .
[Source: CNBC News]