Many have been burned trying to predict Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next foreign policy moves, but it’s a safe bet he will copy whichever U.S. policy he has been criticizing. That’s why Turkey, in particular, should pay close attention to what Russia has to say on regime change.
This pattern of condemn-then-copy foreign policy has been going on for some time. In 2007, Putin made a powerful denunciation of America’s addiction to military force, complaining — presumably as a man of peace — that “There is no one to talk to since Mahatma Gandhi died.” A year later, Russia openly used force beyond its borders for the first time since the end of the Cold War, invading Georgia.
In February 2008, the U.S. smoothly recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia, a move Putin repeatedly attacked as violation of the territorial integrity of another sovereign nation. Before the year was out, he had recognized similar declarations by the Georgian separatist provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.