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A primer on Russia's aspirations in 2017

AirTalk takes a step back to analyze how the Kremlin sees Russia's place in the world in 2017.

While many analysts consider Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee a victory for the Kremlin, it's a small one overshadowed by existential threats to its borders. A new paper by counter terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins cites General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, who in 2013 reflected on the Arab Spring and the "color revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan. Gerasimov wrote: "[A] perfectly thriving state, in a matter of months and even days, can be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and civil war.... The very 'rules of war' have changed. The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness."

These comments can be interpreted as both a worry for Russia (nearby conflicts could bleed into its territory) and a strategy (instability serves Putin in countless ways).

Larry and Russian experts debate Russia's aspirations for 2017 -- how instability in neighboring countries influences Putin's calculus, whether and how Russia is a threat to its neighbors, its own citizens, and global peace.

Guests:  

Anton Fedyashin, professor of Russian History, American University in Washington, D.C.

Molly K. McKew, advises governments and political parties on foreign policy and strategic communications; she was an adviser to Georgian President Saakashvili’s government from 2009-2013, and to former Moldovan Prime Minister Filat in 2014-2015; she tweets @MollyMcKew