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A nation must think before it acts.
Russia’s economy has been under stress due to low oil prices and Western economic sanctions stemming from Russian hostilities in eastern Ukraine and the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Russia’s military campaign to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — which is at odds with U.S. interests — has also had an economic cost, as well as military casualties on the Russian side.
“Putin looked at his economy and said, ‘You know what, I just cannot afford to continue to spend the kind of money that I am on the military and foreign adventures,'” said Edward Turzanski, an international policy and national security expert with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think tank in Philadelphia.