Russia lost the original Cold War, but the United States is now weaker than it was 20 years ago
By Rupert Cornwell
"......It was none other than the US that set the gold standard for spheres of influence with the Monroe Doctrine, back in 1823. And how, pray, has Washington behaved these past decades towards Cuba and other regimes in its Central American backyard, whose policies it disapproved of? In its determination to prevent Nato from setting up shop in Georgia and Ukraine, and its hostility to the US missile defence installations in the old "near abroad" of Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia is observing Monroe to the letter.......
However, one of Mr Bush's greatest disservices to his country – and one whose cost his successors will long be counting – is to have made that hypocrisy visible to a child. His entire foreign policy can be read in the key of, "do as we say, not as we do".
So much, however, for American decline. Russia simultaneously has been on the rise, above all thanks to a new weapon (or rather, long dormant old weapon), its natural resources.......
.....In Moscow's case, its current great-power behaviour is fuelled by resentment and a desire for payback, after the humiliations of the Yeltsin era – on a playing field that is now tilted in its direction.
In short, spheres of influence, insofar as they ever went away, are back......"