The Atlantic

Russia’s Strength Is Its Weakness

How Putin sows division in America
Source: Sputnik Photo Agency / Reuters

If you watched the body language of President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, at their recent summit in Helsinki, you might have wondered: Which man leads a superpower? After all, Trump represents a country that is far stronger than Putin’s Russia. This is the paradox of Russian power—Moscow is influential precisely because it’s weak.

We often take it for granted that the greater a country’s economic and military resources, the greater its influence. But more capabilities doesn’t always mean

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic9 min read
I Wasn’t a Fan of BTS. And Then I Was.
The Korean supergroup’s devoted following and chart-topping success have won them comparisons to the Beatles. Why was I surprised to get swept up in their magic?
The Atlantic8 min readPolitics
The Nationalists Take Washington
Prominent figures from Tucker Carlson to John Bolton gathered at the Ritz-Carlton to declare war on the conservative establishment and lay the groundwork for a new intellectual movement on the right.
The Atlantic7 min read
The Future of the City Is Childless
A few years ago, I lived in a walkup apartment in the East Village of New York. Every so often descending the stairway, I would catch a glimpse of a particular family with young children in its Sisyphean attempts to reach the fourth floor. The mom wo