Russia Pivots to Asia

US President Barack Obama has emphasized that Russia is a weaker country than the United States. US military spending is 12 times more than Russia’s, and the Russian economy, under sanction for interventions in Ukraine, has been crowded out of the top 10 economies in recent years. Still, Russia confounds rivals and neighbors by regarding the globe as a chessboard, weighing priorities, using events in distant places as leverage, and limiting choices for other nations. Taehwa Hong details Russia’s recent moves: improving relations with Japan, countering China’s influence in Eurasia, urging restraint on China’s claims in the South China Sea, reducing hostility with the incoming administration in the United States, not to mention interventions in Ukraine and Syria, computer hacking that interfered with the US election, and multiple oil and gas deals. Russia is intent on increasing its global stature, and those calculations include increased uncertainty for Europe, the United States and Asia. – YaleGlobal