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09:52 AM, May 24, 2019
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Options to Overextend and Unbalance Russia: Rand Corp illustration

An influential United States think tank, Rand Corporation has suggested that the United States could use a variety of economic, military and ideological strategies to divide and destabilize Russia.

According to a report by the Rand Corporation sponsored by the US Army, the US and its allies could employ “nonviolent, cost-imposing options” to weaken Russia’s economy, military and government structures.

The Rand report, titled “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia," said the US should fund operations with the aim of unsettling Russia and diverting it to less-threatening pursuits that deplete its budget. “Such cost-imposing options could place new burdens on Russia — ideally heavier burdens than would be imposed on the United States for pursuing those options,” Rand said.

The various cost-imposing measures to ‘Overextend and Unbalance’ Russia include: Economic, Geopolitical, Ideological, Air and Space, Maritime and land.

“The RAND report openly details a shameless plot to drum up social discontent and societal divisions in Russia,” Russian TV channel RT said in a report published on Friday, citing the study.

The report concludes by stating that the most-promising options to “extend Russia” are those that directly address its vulnerabilities, anxieties, and strengths, exploiting areas of weakness while undermining Russia’s current advantages. In that regard, Russia’s greatest vulnerability, in any competition with the United States, is its economy, which is comparatively small and highly dependent on energy exports. Russian leadership’s greatest anxiety stems from the stability and durability of the regime, and Russia’s greatest strengths are in the military and info-war realms.

However, striking a cautionary note, the report states, “extending Russia for its own sake is not a sufficient basis in most cases to consider the options discussed here.

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