The recent Russian airstrikes in Syria have put the United States and Russia on opposite sides of a multipolar conflict. The Russian airstrikes represent a huge gamble for Moscow. The air strikes would be logistically challenging and Russian military capabilities are limited to long-range power projection. But they do demonstrate the military capabilities that could be needed in a conflict.
Russia has a strong naval presence. It operates a single aircraft carrier, while the U.S. Navy has a fleet of 10 aircraft carriers. But Russian aircraft carriers are largely designed for defensive power projection at sea. Moreover, the Russians are expanding their fleet of submarines. Submarines can supplement their nuclear forces and can also conventionally threaten an enemy’s surface fleet.
The United States must also stand up to Russia’s aggressive behavior. Ultimately, the world must stand united to oppose its aggression. The first step in achieving that goal is to reject Russia’s unprovoked assault and to support the Ukrainian people and their government. As President Biden recently said, this is in our national interest. By continuing to send a clear message to all stakeholders, we can work towards a just peace in Ukraine and the end of wars worldwide.
The US and Russia have been at odds for a long time. Their wars lasted until the end of the Cold War, and during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union had little in common. Both countries fought in World War II, and their aggressive policies created tensions in Eastern Europe.