Winston Churchill was right about Russia during World War II when national survival was at stake. Back then fending off military menaces came before all else. And the Russian national interest remains a good way to decipher Russian actions. Applied to Putin’s Russia, though, Churchill’s diagnosis is incomplete. Russia is less an enigma than a product of its unique history combined with basic human passions that endure from age to age. These forces shape politics and strategy in Moscow.
Let’s interpret the daily news that way.
James Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and coauthor of Red Star over the Pacific. The views voiced here are his alone. This article first appeared earlier this year.