From Brian Whitmore at RFE/RL:
….”Russia’s new course means it is free from any and all influences and restrictions,” Frolov wrote. “This freedom means that Russia does not need to abide by international law…and that Russia’s claims to a leading role in the world cannot be contained.”
The cost of this diplomacy of liberation, of course, is increasing international isolation and ostracism. For the time being, as Frolov notes, Moscow has been able to “divorce foreign policy from economic interests and capabilities.” But in the long run, the current course is not sustainable.
Nevertheless, isolated and resentful powers — particularly isolated and resentful powers with nuclear weapons, large militaries, and vast natural resources — can cause a lot of damage.
Which means that, in the short term, we are in for what Ben Judah, author of the book Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin, calls “our violent new normal.” “The unthinkable happens, is quickly accepted, and fades obscure into a darkening background,” Judah wrote recently in Prospect. “Grey wars, is what we have now: creeping skirmishes, proxy clashes, hybrid assaults and dogfights with Russia.”