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Vladimir Putin, President-elect of Russia.

Three articles on Russia today. All relate to Russia’s relations with the west, and come from different but related angles.

In an opinion piece at DemocracyArsenal.org, analyst Eric Auner lays out his arguments for the strategic sense in the U.S.’s cooperating with Russia on missile defense.

A Chicago Tribune story by John T. Bennet makes the argument that Russia’s huge revenue stream from oil and natural gas supports Vladimir Putin‘s ability to flex Russia’s foreign affairs muscles, disrupting western efforts with Iran, Syria, and North Korea, and the U.S.’s efforts to develop a missile shield in Europe. The article says Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter and the ninth-leading natural gas exporter.

The third article of note is a post on NATOSource, quoting from a RIA Novosti story, about a Russian guided-missile destroyer operating out of the Syrian port of Tartus – one of Russia’s only bases outside of its own territory (if you don’t count Kaliningrad, which was carved out of Poland at the end of WWII so Russia could have a Baltic Sea port that doesn’t freeze over).
The destroyer is the latest in a series of Russian ships from its Black Sea fleet to visit or operate out of Tartus. A not terribly subtle reminder of Russia’s interest in developments in Syria.