Russia is exploiting the continuing instability in the West as it seeks to show off its S-400 missile system “on Europe’s soil,” TASS media reported. S-400s and the Pantsir-S missile system were sent to Serbia, a Russian ally, as part of a military drill called Slavic Shield 2019. At the same time Russia says it will be helping African countries with counter-terrorism efforts.Russia is coming off what seemed like a good month in Syria, with the US withdrawing from parts of the country and Washington seeming to unleash chaos as it abandoned its Kurdish allies. Russia sought to rush in to vacuum up those areas the US was leaving, and bolster the Syrian regime. The game is afoot in Syria because now US Bradley armored vehicles are back in Syria to show off American military might against the Russian bear in order to defend some oil fields. But Russia felt that whatever happens in Syria, the larger arc of Moscow’s foreign policy is increasing its weight in other continents as well. Europe and Africa are important. In Europe, Russia wants to frustrate NATO. It has already moved S-400s to Turkey, and Turkey said this week it will work to get the system operational by the spring of 2020. To plant the system in NATO’s Balkan backyard is also a message. Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote that the S-400s will be involved in this Slavic Shield exercise for the first time in Serbia.Putin has memories of Serbia from 1999 when NATO bombed the country to evict it from Kosovo. How things have changed. Now Russia is back. And its S-400s will be watching over the Balkans, at least temporarily. “Defense cooperation between Russia and Serbia has been quite productive,” Russia says. Combat helicopters, armored vehicles and T-72 tanks are in Serbia. Serbia, not exactly the wealthiest country in Europe, may also purchase a Pantsir S or S-400 system. It is Russia’s most “staunch ally” in the Balkans, the report notes.Russia is also seeking an expanded role in Africa. On October 24, Russia held its first Russia-Africa summit and said that $12 billion in deals could be in the works. Money is important, but Russia also says it wants to help African countries fight terrorism. In recent years the spread of jihadist groups such as Al-Shabab, ISIS and Boko Haram, have harmed numerous African countries. France and the US play a major role in Africa.France and countries in West Africa seek to cooperate as part of the G5 Sahel states against terrorism. The US has bases across Africa, some of them secret, which are conducting anti-terror operations with local forces. In October 2017, US Special Forces were killed in Niger, and in September a base at Baledogle was struck in Somalia. As the US seeks to confront large states such as China and Russia, it may reduce its role in Africa. When there is a vacuum of US power, others will step in. Russia is already involved in security cooperation with 19 states in Africa. This includes the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Gambia, Ghana and Ethiopia, among others.Russia will continue to train militaries, TASS says. “Our country has enormous experience in the fight against terrorism, which we are ready to share with all other nations,” Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security member Frants Klintsevich told a local newspaper. TASS notes that Russia has learned how to fight terrorism through experience in Syria. Russia is ‘effective.” Read that as Russian Spetsnaz special forces, contractors and others could play a larger role.