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Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has undergone profound economic and political changes. Initial hopes for a tranquil post-Cold War world, however, look naive in retrospect. Rapid NATO enlargement and European Union expansion, and perhaps NATO’s Balkan interventions, now appear to have been premised on an assessment of Russian acquiescence that was far too optimistic, and seemed to extinguish any inkling Russia might have had of even limited integration with Europe. At the same time, the United States’ expansive ‘unipolar moment’ was unexpectedly fleeting, its end hastened by 9/11, which dulled the newly benevolent and hopeful edge of international relations in favour of hard security and martial resolve. This abrupt change in emphasis notably led to the United States’ strategic overreach in Iraq and immersion in Afghanistan, and arguably created conditions for an illiberal brand of leadership in line with Russia’s historical habit and the inclinations of those who succeeded Boris Yeltsin.
Chronologically, these articles span the period starting with the early promise of Russia’s conciliation in the 1990s up to the more downbeat and agitated state of affairs at present. They cover a generous range of topics, including the end of the Cold War, Russia–NATO affairs, Russia and the West more broadly, Russia and other strategically important regions, nuclear weapons, Russian strategy, and Putin’s Russia in particular.
International Institute for Strategic Studies