Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Robert A. Manning writes for Foreign Policy on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy strategy in the Middle East and Europe and what President Putin may be trying to achieve politically on the international stage in 2016:

After Russian President Vladimir Putin took over Crimea, and then sent his little green men not-so-stealthily into Eastern Ukraine in early 2014, I thought I understood his objectives. It seemed a clear strategy of post-1990 revenge: Moscow would expand its control of the “near abroad,” as in Georgia, and dominate, if not reconstitute, as much of the former Soviet Union as reasonably possible. Now, one more frozen conflict and an unprecedented military intervention of Syria later, I am scratching my head and wondering: what is Putin thinking; what does he want? While no one has ever accused Putin of being an economist, the combination of $40-per-barrel oil and Western sanctions have crippled the already beleaguered Russian economy, expected to shrink nearly 4 percent this year with 15 percent inflation and a shriveled ruble — all with no end in sight.

Read the full article here.

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