This graphic, found on this diplomat’s Twitter account, is interesting yet infuriating. Let’s see how well you all know me: what do I find most infuriating about it?
No, it’s not that Russian military expenditures rose and the United States’ dropped (though that is annoying—I want my country to spend properly on defense, too). It’s the headline of the graphic: “The world missed Russia’s militarization!” I’ve been calling Russia a strong, rising power for, oh, just about six years now. (Cut me some slack: back in 2003 I was in middle school and didn’t know anything about current events. No one knew back then that I was a future Russia specialist, least of all me!)
For years, people scoffed and didn’t listen to me when I told them that Russia is a once and future world power and should be respected as such. “It’s demographically in the toilet!” they told me. “Why are you bothering to learn Russian? Study Arabic or Chinese instead!” Then suddenly all this stuff in Ukraine erupts and the whole world wakes up to a rising Russia.
The curse of being ahead of one’s time is watching one’s predictions come true while getting none of the credit for predicting it.