Opinion digest: Putin exploiting power vacuum created by U.S. presidential elections (1)
According to director of Tallinn’s International Centre for Defence and Security and former ambassador to Russia, Jüri Luik, the increased tensions over the past few weeks between Russia and the West indicate Putin’s wish to exploit the ambiguous mood before the U.S. presidential elections as much as possible.
Luik wrote in an opinion piece in daily Postimees that Putin’s anti-Western sentiment had developed from casual resentment to full-on rage over his 16 years in power. The last few weeks had brought on a situation where even by the measures of Putin’s behavior tensions had reached a new peak, as nuclear weapons and the fear of a nuclear exchange had become part of the game.
“Let’s leave aside the possibility of our neighbor’s leadership having completely detached itself from reality, and concentrate on the rational arguments. The U.S. presidential campaign has created a power vacuum in Washington, which will last from the currently outgoing president to Jan. 20, when the new president will take office, and a for a few more months after that. This has created a convenient window for Putin, which is only waiting to be exploited,” Luik wrote.
Luik pointed out that it was possible for Putin to solve a lot of problems in such a timespan, achieve plenty of objectives practically risk-free, and with the help of the threat of nuclear war make his own demands and the according concessions of the West seem small compared to the nightmare of a nuclear exchange.
With this, the threat of nuclear war was actually an information war, but one with serious consequences.
The conflict in Syria was in fact the one that held the most danger for Estonia, Luik pointed out. “This is currently the only area in the world where a real military clash of Russia and the USA could occur, in the case of which Russia would immediately let us feel it as well,” Luik argued.