Russian Diplomacy Is Equal Parts Blame and Aggression (Op-ed)

Russia is more isolated than pundits and politicians believe. Sanctions, Russia’s solitary position in the UN, and only having two allies — theocratic Iran and the terrorist organization Hezbollah — are only the tip of the iceberg.

Russia has lost its ability to achieve favorable outcomes even in international venues that are far removed from politics and do not appear completely free of corruption.

For example, the provocation with Yuliya Samoylova, the disabled singer chosen to represent Russia at the Eurovision contest in Ukraine, seemed promising at first: Ukraine was confronted with a difficult choice, and its image suffered when it refused to accept the Russian singer due to her travel to Crimea following the annexation.

But Russia failed to get firm support from the European Broadcasting Union, the producer of Eurovision. Even though Russia threw all of its resources at the situation (Eurovision is an important political event for Russia), these resources were not sufficient to sway a few dozen show business managers.

The decreasing number of people who speak and study Russian worldwide, the transition by several former Soviet republics to the Latin alphabet, the accession of the Orthodox Christian Montenegro to NATO, and the rejection (albeit not yet official) of Cyrillic script by Serbia: All of these developments are also signs of Russia’s growing isolation — not only political and economic but also cultural and moral.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently described Russia as “a strong country” (noting that the United States is “a very, very strong country”). However, everything is relative. Russia is, of course, stronger than many countries, but it is weaker than it pretends to be. Russia can still destroy all living things on the planet with its nuclear arsenal, but it is unlikely to win a war against a serious adversary.