A journalist who works for a French news agency and writes from Russia mockingly asks if this is the Russia we--the West--are so afraid of, after writing anecdotes of problems in Russia.
Yes, this is the Russia we are so afraid of.
A Russia with all those problems has rough parity in strategic nuclear weapons and even more tactical nukes.
A Russia that devotes so much effort to attacking Georgia and Ukraine to restore the empire despite all those problems.
A Russia that threatens other small nations who in no way are a threat to Russia.
A Russia that maintains the ability and loudly practices assaults on neighbors.
A Russia whose president has built a separate military force loyal to him personally.
A Russia that is trying to undermine the West.
A Russia that is destroying every day the fledgling democracy it acquired after the collapse of the Soviet Union
Yes, all those things mean we in the West have reason to be afraid.
Oh, America is far stronger than Russia. And Europe has the potential to be far stronger. So I'm not afraid that NATO will be invaded and occupied by the Russians.
But Russia could start clawing back land by conquering former people who want to remain free because Russia is close and America is far.
And Russia could regain strength that they lost to restore the position that the Soviet Union once had--a threat that could conquer important parts of NATO to defeat NATO.
Those are reasons to fear a Russia that would rather build a threat to the West than deal with all those problems the author writes about. So we know Russia's priorities under Putin.
Although to be fair to the author, perhaps it was just the New York Times that wrote the title who feels that way.
Or perhaps I really misunderstand and the editors are mocking the newly Russia-phobic Democrats.