Professor Kimberly Marten tries to explain an apparently schizophrenic Russian foreign policy toward the United States in this policy memo on PONARS Eurasia.
She comes up with four possible explanations:
- Putin succumbed to his own ignorance and biases.
- Putin’s advisors are afraid to tell him the truth.
- Inconsistent foreign policy is the result of infighting in Putin’s inner circle.
- Disparate members of Russia’s intelligence network are controlling foreign policy with negative consequences for state interests.
I think there are a few additional explanations to consider.
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Marten gives two examples of inconsistencies in Russia’s foreign policy toward the United States.