March 10 2014
photo by Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko
This commentary appeared on Foreign Policy on March 7, 2014.
The Russian military intervention caught many foreign policy analysts by surprise. Articles explaining why Russia wouldn't intervene ran in Foreign Affairs, Time, and the New York Times; and even the intelligence community was caught off guard according to the Daily Beast (hat tip to Ben Domenech for his post on this in The Federalist). Events have proven them wrong.
Not everyone got it wrong. Two years ago I argued that, despite the end of the Cold War, the United States should still see Russia as a hostile great power. I cited the 2008 invasion of Georgia, said that we should “look for the sequel in Ukraine,” and argued that Putin would be happy to let a foreign crisis spiral dangerously to win nationalist plaudits at home. For a similar argument, I was criticized in the pages of Foreign Affairs for my “alarmist, worst-case scenarios.”