What does Russia want? This question has confounded policymakers in Washington for the past several years, but never more so than today, as Moscow extends its grip in Crimea, widens the war in Syria and bolsters its military facing west.
I know that I lack a certain appreciation of nuance. I freely admit that.
But I think Russia under Putin wants territory that other people have. That is what he keeps planting his troops on, after all.
Putin said that the collapse of the Soviet Union--during which people on lots of territory took their opportunity to escape Russian control--was a tragedy.
How is this confounding policymakers?
Russia has taken territory in Georgia and Ukraine; he keeps things roiling in Transnistria (I still think of it as spelled Transdnestria); threatens the Baltic states; seems to slowly absorb Belarus; and has planted his troops in Syria, where a win not only gets him base territory but allows him to test his weapons in wartime conditions and raises Russia's reputation which could come in handy should Putin seek more territory.
How is the question of what Putin wants a mystery?
Of course, these same policymakers are probably still scratching their head over this, trying to find clues about just what exactly do the Iranian nutball mullahs have in mind?
Iran test-fired two ballistic missiles, one of them with the phrase "Israel should be wiped off the Earth" written on it in Hebrew, Iranian media reported Wednesday.
The country’s semiofficial Fars news agency said the missiles were fired at a target 870 miles away.
I'm sure that a properly nuanced mind can figure this, and much else, out.