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Russia's new military doctrine, the Mistral, and Georgia

Mistral

For those inclined to believe the worst about Russia's military intentions, there have been two recent developments that have aroused pundit ire: the possible sale of advanced French Mistral-class ships to Russia, along with the statement of Russia's top naval official that "a ship like this would have allowed the Black Sea fleet to accomplish its mission [invading Georgia] in 40 minutes and not 26 hours," and the new Russian military doctrine and its explicit designation of NATO as a threat.

The volume on the Mistral sale is bound to increase over the next few days, as France and Russia formally began talks today to buy not just one Mistral but up to four.

But RFE/RL has a perceptive analysis that suggests that the alleged aggressiveness of the doctrine is overblown, and that those two developments, in a way, blunt each other, that the Mistral sale in fact suggests a softer attitude toward NATO than Kremlin rhetoric can suggest:

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Russia's new military doctrine, the Mistral, and Georgia

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