Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting the better of the West in the dispute over Ukraine, The Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes writes in Foreign Policy.

That’s because he’s consistently managed to outmaneuver the United States and our allies,¬†Holmes explains:

Could it be that Putin has grasped the meaning of the strategic standoff with the West better than we have? Has he figured out an approach — do we dare call it a strategy? — that minimizes our strengths and his weaknesses to achieve his objectives?

I think he has.¬†Whether it is written up in some grand strategy document, I seriously doubt. But whether playing the game by instinct or following some plan (in the end it really doesn’t matter which), Putin is taking a page from the doctrine of asymmetrical warfare. He’s minimizing his weaknesses while turning the strengths of his opponents against themselves. The aim is not merely to control Ukraine as much as possible but to force the West to accept new terms for the European order and for the international system at large.

Holmes concludes with a call for tougher sanctions on Russia and a renewed focus on strengthening the NATO alliance. Do you agree? Tell us in the comments?

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