Moscow has been closely assessing the limitations of Washington and knows America's biggest weakness is its foreign policy handling.
New Delhi: The competition between the Soviet Union and the US during Cold War was approached in a clinical method. Perhaps the other side could predict what was in each rival's mind and planning. Moreover, both the US and USSR were on the same ground in one aspect- discourage the emergence of any third power.
But the world has changed. USSR is now a thing of the past. But the Russian spirit has survived. Vladimir Putin represents that 'spirit' – of not giving up so easily.
Importantly, the cold war changed the geography of Europe as well. By the 1950s, as stated in the book 'Fire in the East', Europe no longer had the appetite and fire in the belly to change events on the world stage.
Somewhere Putin's powerhouse, Kremlin has been following this minutely. Moscow has been closely assessing the limitations of Washington.
On the other hand, Europe called the 'cockpit' of the world for having seen so many wars and cultivated a notion that it was 'more secure' than it has been back in ages.
This 'weakness' suited Putin's plans when he decided to work on the invasion of Crimea and, lately, Ukraine.
He has also been monitoring the ground zero positions in Asia. According to Paul Bracken, in his book, the spread of weapons of mass destruction to Asia, including India and Pakistan, actually signalled the end of American dominance.
This was proved in more ways than one in Afghanistan. On several occasions, US President Joe Biden looked clumsy and directionless. If the Americans could not handle the test and challenge of the Taliban, Putin presumed the US would develop cold feet once he also undergoes some 'adventurism'.
Even now, it is being circulated in certain quarters that NATO is actually scared of a major war. Hence, perhaps Putin's timing of the 'Ukraine invasion' has been very apt.
Napoleon once said to know a country's strength and geography, one must know the country's foreign policy well.
Putin knew in August 2021, America's biggest weakness is its foreign policy handling.
In that sense, was the Russian alone to gauge this situation? Not quite – China and India also knew the gravity of American limitation. Though both are bitter competitors in Asian theatre, Beijing and New Delhi have abstained from voting at UNSC and UNGA. Both have decided to stick to Russia and keep the relevance of RIC floating.
Putin is obsessed with Ukraine, and it is not without good reason. There is one historical legacy between the two countries. Ukraine has a defence industry and also vast agricultural land. After 1991, as USSR collapsed, geopolitics changed. Putin, being from the old school, still harbours his obsession with the land. In 1994, Ukraine gave away major nuclear arsenals to Russia and wanted 'security' from Russia. This did not happen, and instead, we have war today.