from washingtonpost.com: Much of the commentary on Russia’s recent annexation of the Crimea has focused on Russia’s hard power—its geo-political designs in the so-called near abroad, ostensible security vulnerabilities to NATO’s eastward expansion, strategic objectives, and military capabilities. These questions are not moot and have a strong sense of urgency for leaders in Ukraine, Moldova, or even Kazakhstan nervously pondering Russia’s next moves. Yet an excessive focus on the hard aspects of Russia’s power risks obscuring the Kremlin’s skillful manipulation of soft power—a factor perhaps equally important in accounting for the swiftness of “operation Crimea” as the shady men in balaclavas appearing on the peninsula’s shores.
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