The West’s Stake in Russia’s Future

Foreign policy was barely mentioned in the recent presidential campaign, and in the absence of major warfare abroad or immediately perceptible dangers, the American people seem not inclined to think much these days about the broader world. But periods of calm rarely last long in human affairs-particularly in times of rapid change-and indeed four sorts of real danger may loom on the horizon for our nation and type of society. Three of the four involve a Russia that Americans have perhaps too easily assumed that they no longer need worry about.

The first and most obvious danger is the continued presence and growing risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the refinement of delivery systems that could physically devastate and even totally destroy the United States. Although the cold war is over and Russian conventional armed forces are no longer a major threat to their neighbors, Russia still has the long distance strategic capability to obliterate the population centers and infrastructure of North America; and present and future rogue states already have or may acquire some of that potential. This makes the continuance of Russia along its present reform path something the United States should be supporting even more strongly than it has in the past.

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