Once thought to be on the path to becoming a democratic capitalistic state, Russia remains a preeminent global challenge to the US. In the last few decades, US presidents have entered into office committed to resettling the relation with Russia, only to become more acrimonious. Three decades after the cold war, and two decades of Vladimir Putin’s reign, the US must realize that the Russian challenge is enduring (NSS, 2018). The current invasion by Russia of Ukraine poses a severe threat to the existing international system. While the US can and should impose immediate sanction-economic, diplomatic, military, or domestic, the US response to Russia will be judged the long-term influence on Putin’s Russian regime. The US needs to strengthen its ties with NATO, implement economic tools to its favor, and end diplomatic efforts with Russia.
It is imperative to understand what policies offer a more competitive approach. The strategic policies must focus on reducing Russian power and avoiding more destructive policies such as confrontation, isolation, and containment, which may inadvertently affect the West fiscal and cost management (Bergmann, 2022).
First, the US should strengthen its ties with NATO and limit Russian military observers in Europe through curtailing intelligence gathering. Russia aims to veto authority over other countries, which destroy NATO, and transform European and the Middle East security and economic structure (Deni, 2018). Furthermore, the Russian attack on Ukraine should shift America’s approach to NATO. Europe needs to become military stronger to deter Russia in the future. The NATO dependency on the US is counterproductive. Additional measures that the current administration can take include encouraging the establishment of NATO bank to finance its significant investment, encouraging the EU to finance defense investments, deploying additional US forces and military assets in Europe, and engaging with non-NATO nations such as Sweden and Finland to join the organization.
Second, given the US military options, the US has significantly more freedom to implement substantial economic costs on Russia. Notably, economic strength underwrites a nation’s military power, political influence, among others. Taking considerable measures that hinders Russia’s development may have a lasting impact on its military and political power against the US. However, these policies must be implemented in check, as the 2014 sanctions on Moscow were ineffective (NDS, 2018). Some of the economic measures that the US can undertake include targeting and conducting eviction of Russian oligarch and their assets in the West, placing strict control that prevents US-based technology to Russia, and having constant economic sanction campaigns against Russia (Bergmann, 2022)
Finally, The US must end its diplomatic efforts with Russia. Locally, the US needs to end the high-visibility summits and a state visit with Putin. Such visits offer tangible evidence that the Russian leader is respected, matter, and even right in his undemocratic rule (Deni, 2018). The US must maintain unity and encourage its partners to adopt intensive action against Russia. The US should be active and have a broad-based global diplomatic offensive in pressing allies globally.
In sum, the US competitive strategy against Russia can only be judged by reducing Russia’s hold on the US, its interests, and those of its allies. The US needs to strengthen its ties with NATO, implement economic tools to its favour, and end its diplomatic efforts with Russia while actively establishing broad-based global diplomatic offensive tactics. If adopted, these measures would reduce Russia influence globally and domestically.
Deni, J. R. (2018). Strategic Insights: Making Good on the NSS and NDS: Competing with Russia in Europe and Beyond.
National Security Strategy. (2022). National Security Strategy 2017. National Security Strategy Archive.
National Defense Strategy. (2018). Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge.
Max Bergmann. (2022). How the United States Should Respond if Russia Invades Ukraine.