As one of his final acts in 2014, President Putin signed on December 26 the country’s new military doctrine. The new doctrine makes it clear that even if the West is not officially an adversary, it is a powerful competitor and a bitter rival, a source of most of military risks and threats.
Many in Russia believe that the EU sanctions appeared as a result of the Ukrainian conflict and pressure from Washington. In fact, the reasons for the current deterioration in Russia’s relations with Europe are far more profound. But this does not mean that another—European—front in Russia’s confrontation with the West has now been opened.
Vladimir Putin’s annual address to parliament on December 4, 2014 has laid down the Kremlin's medium-term strategy. The next four or five years will be very difficult if not critical for Russia, and the Russians, in Putin’s view, absolutely must meet the challenges and win.
Recent events in Russian-American relations are often compared with events during the Cold War. There is no doubt that, along with other factors, information will play a key role in the new form of Russian-American confrontation.
Putin’s statements on weapons of mass destruction at the Valdai forum may have been just a tactical move to offset his harsh criticism of the United States. But it may well be an invitation to a serious discussion with Washington.
If common sense prevails and the West resumes its cooperation with Russia, the consolidated response to security threats in Afghanistan will be far more effective than the current disjointed efforts by various countries.