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  • Author: Constanze Stelzenm├╝ller
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Germany is a bridge between Russia and the West, and how Berlin chooses to deal with Moscow will set the tone for how the United States and the rest of Europe manage their own relationships with Russia.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander J. Motyl
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The recent deterioration in relations between Russia and Ukraine should be of great concern to the West, because Ukraine's security is critical to Europe's stability. Ukraine must be placed back on the policy agenda as a player in its own right.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Robert Legvold
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Reversing the collapse of U.S.-Russian relations is one of the great tests facing the Obama administration. Among the major powers, Russia is the hard case. And the stakes involved in getting U.S.-Russian relations right are high -- much higher than the leadership of either country has acknowledged or perhaps even realized so far. If the Obama administration can guide the relationship onto a more productive path, as it is trying to do, it will not only open the way for progress on the day's critical issues -- from nuclear security and energy security to climate change and peaceful change in the post-Soviet area -- but also be taking on a truly historic task. One of the blessings of the post-Cold War era has been the absence of strategic rivalry among great powers, a core dynamic of the previous 300 years in the history of international relations. Should it return, some combination of tensions between the United States, Russia, and China would likely be at its core. Ensuring that this does not happen constitutes the less noticed but more fateful foreign policy challenge facing this U.S. president and the next.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Soviet Union
  • Author: Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: NATO's 60th anniversary, celebrated in April with pomp and circumstance by the leaders of nearly 30 allied states, generated little public interest. NATO's historical role was treated as a bore. In the opinion-shaping media, there were frequent derisive dismissals and even calls for the termination of the alliance as a dysfunctional geostrategic irrelevance. Russian spokespeople mocked it as a Cold War relic. Even France's decision to return to full participation in NATO's integrated military structures -- after more than 40 years of abstention -- aroused relatively little positive commentary. Yet France's actions spoke louder than words. A state with a proud sense of its universal vocation sensed something about NATO -- not the NATO of the Cold War but the NATO of the twenty-first century -- that made it rejoin the world's most important military alliance at a time of far-reaching changes in the world's security dynamics. France's action underlined NATO's vital political role as a regional alliance with growing global potential. In assessing NATO's evolving role, one has to take into account the historical fact that in the course of its 60 years the alliance has institutionalized three truly monumental transformations in world affairs: first, the end of the centuries-long "civil war" within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy; second, the United States' post-World War II commitment to the defense of Europe against Soviet domination (resulting from either a political upheaval or even World War III); and third, the peaceful termination of the Cold War, which ended the geopolitical division of Europe and created the preconditions for a larger democratic European Union. Even France's decision to return to full participation in NATO's integrated military structures -- after more than 40 years of abstention -- aroused relatively little positive commentary. Yet France's actions spoke louder than words. A state with a proud sense of its universal vocation sensed something about NATO -- not the NATO of the Cold War but the NATO of the twenty-first century -- that made it rejoin the world's most important military alliance at a time of far-reaching changes in the world's security dynamics. France's action underlined NATO's vital political role as a regional alliance with growing global potential. In assessing NATO's evolving role, one has to take into account the historical fact that in the course of its 60 years the alliance has institutionalized three truly monumental transformations in world affairs: first, the end of the centuries-long "civil war" within the West for transoceanic and European supremacy; second, the United States' post-World War II commitment to the defense of Europe against Soviet domination (resulting from either a political upheaval or even World War III); and third, the peaceful termination of the Cold War, which ended the geopolitical division of Europe and created the preconditions for a larger democratic European Union.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, France
  • Author: Stephen Kotkin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese-Russian relationship is more opportunistic than strategic, Bobo Lo argues. The United States is stuck watching from the sidelines and may be pushing Moscow further into Beijing's pocket.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Beijing, Moscow
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Two decades after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and nearly 20 years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia has shed communism and lost its historical empire. But it has not yet found a new role. Instead, it sits uncomfortably on the periphery of both Europe and Asia while apprehensively rubbing shoulders with the Muslim world. Throughout the 1990s, Moscow attempted to integrate into, and then with, the West. These efforts failed, both because the West lacked the will to adopt Russia as one of its own and because Russian elites chose to embrace a corporatist and conservative policy agenda at home and abroad. As a result, in the second presidential term of Vladimir Putin, Russia abandoned its goal of joining the West and returned to its default option of behaving as an independent great power. It redefined its objectives: soft dominance in its immediate neighborhood; equality with the world's principal power centers, China, the European Union, and the United States; and membership in a global multipolar order. Half a decade later, this policy course has revealed its failures and flaws. Most are rooted in the Russian government's inability and unwillingness to reform the country's energy-dependent economy, the noncompetitive nature of Russian politics, and a trend toward nationalism and isolationism. In terms of foreign policy, Russia's leaders have failed to close the book on the lost Soviet empire. It is as if they exited the twentieth century through two doors at the same time: one leading to the globalized market of the twenty-first century and the other opening onto the Great Game of the nineteenth century. As the current global economic crisis has demonstrated, the model that Russia's contemporary leaders have chosen -- growth without development, capitalism without democracy, and great-power policies without international appeal -- cannot hold forever. Not only will Russia fail to achieve its principal foreign policy objectives, it will fall further behind in a world increasingly defined by instant communication and open borders, leading to dangers not merely to its status but also to its existence. Russia's foreign policy needs more than a reset: it requires a new strategy and new policy instruments and mechanisms to implement it.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Michael McFaul, Kathryn Stoner-Weiss
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A growing conventional wisdom holds that Vladimir Putin's attack on democracy has brought Russia stability and prosperity -- providing a new model of successful market authoritarianism. But the correlation between autocracy and economic growth is spurious. Autocracy's effects in Russia have in fact been negative. Whatever the gains under Putin, they would have been greater under a democratic regime.
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Ronald D. Asmus
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After the Cold War, NATO and the EU opened their doors to central and Eastern Europe, making the continent safer and freer than ever before. Today, NATO and the EU must articulate a new rationale for enlarging still further, once again extending democracy and prosperity to the East, this time in the face of a more powerful and defiant Russia.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Harry C. Blaney III
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor: Ronald Asmus' article "Europe's Eastern Promise" (January/February 2008) was right on the fundamental importance of promoting stability, security, and democracy in eastern Europe. However, such an approach should be combined with a Western strategy to engage Russia in major efforts to promote cooperation and Russia's integration with the West. Russia feels that the further extension of NATO toward its borders would not be in its interests. Although that may not be the overriding consideration in the West's decisions, it must remain part of any assessment of the long-term strategic situation and inform a larger vision for the area.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Padma Desai
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor: Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss ("The Myth of the Authoritarian Model," January/February 2008) make several erroneous judgments regarding the current Russian scene. The Russian economy has grown in the last seven years at an annual rate of 6.5 percent. The ongoing debate among economists and other informed observers of Russia is over whether this is a result of exceptionally high (and rising) oil prices, and hence a reversible phenomenon if the price of oil collapses, or the result of substantive changes in the last decade that made high growth rates sustainable. At a major World Leaders Forum and a scientific conference attended by distinguished Russia scholars at Columbia University last April, participants shared the view that Russia's economic performance was not a flash in the pan caused by oil; rather, the consensus was that important policy changes had taken place. Still, no responsible Western scholar of Russia (nor even a supporter of former Russian President Vladimir Putin) has suggested that the high growth rates in Russia are a product of Putin's authoritarian ways. The claim by McFaul and Stoner-Weiss that this argument is made is simply creating a straw man.
  • Political Geography: Russia