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Much of modern geopolitics seems to be following the plot from Game of Thrones, with many countries under so much political and economic stress that their only hope is that their rivals collapse before they do. So their governments cling to power while exploiting rivals' internal weaknesses.Russian President Vladimir Putin is the prime example. Rival powers – most notably the United States and the European Union – have introduced sanctions in the hope of widening cracks in the Russian elite, exploiting the fact that Putin has not diversified his economy away from oil and gas. Putin, in turn, is hoping that Russia's economy stays afloat long enough for Ukraine to collapse. After Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane near its border with Syria in November, Putin adopted a series of measures designed to destabilize Turkey from within. He imposed economic sanctions, spread rumors of corruption in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inner circle, invited the leader of a Kurdish party to Moscow and allegedly sent arms to the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The Iranian economy is a wreck after years of international sanctions, and the government has not yet managed to take advantage of the nuclear deal it struck with the U.S. to rebuild it.One reason for President Xi Jinping's optimism is the dire state of U.S. politics.
Will Iran conflict break the West?
How Europe can become a global player
The end of
Players and pawns
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