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Russia as a Power

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发表于 12-30-2020 10:40:44 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 choi 于 12-30-2020 14:57 编辑

Kathryn E Stoner, The US Should Stop Underestimating Russian Power. Vladimir Putin deploys capabilities and resources that have made his country far more than a post-Cold War 'gas station' with nuclear arms. Wall Street Journal, Dec 26, 2020 (in the Review section that appears every Saturday for essays and book reviews).
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the ... n-power-11608746239

Quote:

(a) "The post-Cold War picture of Russia as weak and declining is outdated. Russia has come a long way from the decrepit, indebted and lawless country that emerged after the Soviet collapse in 1991, a nation that the late Sen. John McCain described in 2014 as 'a gas station [see next paragraph] masquerading as a country.'

"Russia still supplies much of the world with oil and gas—resources on which the global economy depends. But Russia does more than just mine, refine and sell petroleum; it also controls much of the world’s oil and gas pipeline infrastructure. That gives Mr Putin the kind of leverage and influence over a host of countries (including most of Europe) that doesn't show up in measures of relative power such as GDP.

"Russia is also the world's largest exporter of grain [So what? Brazil is among top exporter of grains, too. But grains are now in surplus.]

(b) "Meanwhile, Russia has used oil and weapons sales to forge an axis of mutual convenience with China. Mr Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping boast of their close relationship, and their countries increasingly cooperate in joint military exercises. Under Narendra Modi, India too relies heavily on Russia for weaponry. Yet Russia saves plenty of arms for itself and has transformed the remnants of the decrepit Soviet military into an agile, professionalized fighting force.

(c) "—Dr Stoner is a senior fellow and deputy director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Her forthcoming book is 'Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order,' which will be published by Oxford University Press on Feb 1.

Note:
(a)
(i) Stoner: "[an English surname] for someone who lived in a stone-built house (see Stone), with the habitational or agent suffix -er. [or] Translation of German Steiner."  Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
(ii) The online subtitle is: Vladimir Putin deploys capabilities and resources that have made his country a resurgent global player.
(iii) This essay IS available to anybody, but there is no need to read the rest, which says nothing new.

(b)
(i) Quotation (b) is the only place in the essay that mentions China.
(ii) Hindsight confers perfect vision. But remember that prior to collapse of Soviet Union, CIA had said that country had a GDP bigger than America's.
(c) It is hard for me to think Russia as a power, whose nominal GDP (according to foreign exchange rate) is just three times of Taiwan's (despite its population of 144 millions (excluding Crimea (population: 2.3m; which Russia annexed in 2014), exactly six times of Taiwan's). In other words, Russians are twice as poor, or half as rich, as Taiwanese (per capita).
(d) In late 2010 I met a Jewish father and son as immigrants from Russia (both born in Soviet Union, though the son looked in his early 20s), living in a homeless shelter in Boston awaiting some sort of relief for finance or housing, they said. I broached Gorbachev, and the father, in a sentence of two, reminisced about, and took pride in, the glorious days of Soviet Union and signed. I was dumbfounded.
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