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"Putin's Russia is a neo-imperialist state struggling for regional hegemony. And the post-post-Cold War in Europe could turn out to be more disruptive than the Cold War itself. This is the principal argument of this well-written, thoroughly documented, and provocative analysis. The fact that Bugajski made this argument prior to Russia's invasion of Georgia makes it a must-read."--Ivan Krastev, Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, Bulgaria
Moscow's overarching ambition toward Europe is to expand the "Eurasian space" in which Russia is the dominant political player. For Moscow, "Eurasianism" involves two interconnected strategies: transforming Europe into an appendage of the Russian sphere of influence and debilitating Euro-Atlanticism by undercutting Europe's connections with the United States. Russia deploys a range of tools to curtail the further expansion of the NATO-EU sphere and to weaken its coherence and effectiveness. These include divisive diplomacy, political subversion, informational warfare, and institutional manipulation. A primary weapon is energy entrapment, whereby Russia pursues a monopolistic position as Europe's energy supplier and converts energy dependence into intergovernmentalinfluence. Moscow is also gaining major economic inroads in Europe through targeted investments and the purchase of strategic assets that enable it to pressure politicians and induce major businesses to support Russian interests.
The most effective and realistic long-term Western strategy toward Russia needs to combine "practical engagement" with "strategic assertiveness." Practical engagement focuses on the pursuit of cooperative relations where Western and Russian interests coincide, as in countering international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or in the resolution of regional conflicts where Moscow can play a constructive role. Strategic assertiveness, as an essential complementary approach, must focus on vital long-range Western interests where Russia's negative policies can be effectively countered by the European Union and NATO working in tandem to strengthen transatlanticism. As a primary principle, all NATO-EU allies must avoid compromising core interests through agreements with Russia that sacrifice one Western security priority to gain Kremlin support in another arena. Such compromises not only undermine Europe's commitment to expand democratic security but also permit Russia to implement its Eurasian agenda.