Doubling Down: Putin's Pursuit of Global Power

Russian involvement in Venezuela, Syria and Ukraine could bankrupt the country.
PER_Russia_01_USE AS BANNER Source: Illustration by Alex Fine

In December, President Vladimir Putin called for Russia's economy "to enter another league." But that priority is far from clear if one looks at where the Kremlin places its foreign policy chips.

The latest gamble is Venezuela, where Russia recently flew two nuclear-capable Blackjack bombers. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo dismissed this as "two corrupt governments squandering public funds and squelching liberty…while their people suffer." Indeed, Venezuela is an economic basket case where, the International Monetary Fund predicts, inflation this year will hit 10 million percent.

The U.S., too, has

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