Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky / TASS via Getty Images

Our national conversation about Russia is alternating between indifference and hysteria. For most of the quarter century since the breakup of the USSR, we have treated Russia as a country in a state of long term, even terminal decline — “too sick to matter.”

Now, we are told, Russia has emerged as the biggest threat to the United States. Almost daily we learn new details about Russian cyber and information operations that have flooded our media with fake news and threatened the integrity of our elections, striking at the heart of American democracy.

Why it matters: Russia, our intelligence chiefs tell us, is poised to keep interfering in the U.S. and in our allies and neighbors. From Syria to France to Mexico to Venezuela, Russia is trying to expand its global footprint.

Yes, but: If there is a silver lining to our current obsession with Russia, it’s that it provides a much-needed correction to a decades-long patterns of neglect and misperception in U.S. policy.

Even if one agrees with President Barack Obama’s description of Russia as a “regional power,” one look at the map is enough to see what a region it’s in. It is the biggest power in Europe and Asia. It sees itself as a major power with interests in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and Asia-Pacific, where it has relationships that date back decades, sometimes centuries.

The bottom line: Russia has recovered enough of its economic and military strength to back an agile influence campaign well beyond its borders. It is armed with a diverse and effective toolkit and an experienced leader committed to building on the Soviet legacy of global activism. The time has come for Washington to move past its hysteria and get serious about Moscow's reach. A new phase of Russian foreign policy is underway, so we better pay attention — and respond.

Go deeper: The Carnegie Endowment's Return of Global Russia

Eugene Rumer is a senior fellow and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

7 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.