• Articles,  National Interest

    Zapad 2017: Should We Fear Russia’s Latest Military Dress Rehearsal?

    The Russian military is now a sharpened policy tool of choice for an emboldened but strategically defensive regime that relies on preemption. In mid-September, Russia will conduct Zapad “West” 2017, a major quadrennial military exercise that takes place near the borders of the Baltic States and Poland as well as inside independent Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Not since the end of the Cold War has a modern-day military exercise prompted as much speculation and concern as this Western-oriented display of Vladimir Putin’s machines of war. The prospect of Zapad 2017 raises tantalizing and worrisome questions. Will it turn out to be a traditional preparedness operation, in which…