Anya Schmemann, October 29, 2012
In last week's foreign-policy debate, while many countries and regions were left unmentioned, Russia was invoked ten times. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney defended his assertion that Russia is America’s “number-one geopolitical foe.” He added, “I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin.”…..Russia is undeniably large and important, and it often acts as a significant spoiler on the global stage. But certainly it no longer ranks among the top foreign-policy priorities or problems for the United States.
Russia occupies a lot of space, but much of it is frozen tundra, and it is only the world’s ninth most populous nation. It has significant mineral and energy resources and is a major producer of oil and natural gas, but it will require massive new investments to extract new reserves. Russia also maintains a sizeable military force and possesses a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons, but its military is weakened and in need of modernization. Russia's economy is also sputtering, and its long-term challenges include a shrinking workforce, population decline, high levels of corruption and poor infrastructure. To Read More……..