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From the time he entered office after being tapped by Boris Yeltsin to succeed him, President Vladimir Putin’s overarching objective was to consolidate power – at home and abroad. From earlier focuses on the Russian economy and quashing internal rivals, President Putin now seeks to recover geo-strategic assets lost in the Soviet collapse, which he called “the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the 20th century.”
President Putin's adventurism in the “post-Soviet space” was previously limited to cyber-activities in the Baltics, widespread regional economic and security pressure, and the 2008 invasion of Georgia. But in 2014 he aimed far higher by invading and annexing Crimea and then destabilizing eastern Ukraine. The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine has caused the West to re-assess its overall approach to Russia.
What is President Putin up to? How far will he go? What should the United States do to deter President Putin's ambitions to make Russia the dominant power in Eurasia? And what are our European allies willing to do?
- Hon. Brian H. Hook, Founder, Latitude, LLC and former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
- Ms. Heather Hurlburt, Senior Fellow in National Security, Human Rights First