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Dmitri Trenin is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. From 1993 to 1997, Trenin held posts as a senior research fellow at the NATO Defense College in Rome and a senior research fellow at the Institute of Europe in Moscow. He is the author of Getting Russia Right (2007), Russia's Restless Frontier: The Chechnya Factor in Post-Soviet Russia (2004), and The End of Eurasia: Russia on the Border Between Geopolitics and Globalization (2002), all published by Carnegie.
Let me start by saying that Dmitri Trenin is one of few Russians who can explain Russia to the foreigners. It is not easy. He is unique - a retired Russian Amy officer who has become a director in an American foundation, he possesses a command of English which is not merely very good, it's wonderfully idiomatic. His new monograph is thoughtful and well written, but I think it has some weaknesses, which nevertheless do not diminish the importance of the book.
First, he has avoided discussing the most salient issue: what the Russian policy vis-à-vis the U.S. should be in the short and in the long term. The United States is not a remote irrelevant power, it is Russia's superpower neighbor to the East, the West, the South, and the North - the US's presence in Korea, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, or in Georgia, or via NATO allies in Turkey, Poland, or Estonia - only 100 miles away from St. Petersburg, makes it a country which virtually surrounds Russia. The US is, de facto, the European Great Power, as well as the Asian Great Power, and the Middle Eastern Great Power. Whatever the stated policy, the U.S. factual policy has been to keep Russia, well, off-balance, at least keep it from interfering with the U.S. interests, which in practical terms means not interfere with anything at all. So far, Russia and the U.S. have been muddling through, but the "modus vivendi" is unraveling.
Secondly: what is going on in the world today? what are the major trends? One cannot devise a Grand strategy for a country like Russia without answering these questions first. The author needs to probe these questions more. In the end, the country survival depends on its survival in the international enviroment.Read more ›
This is a very interesting book covering Russia after the fall of the the Soviet Union. The book is (1) part selective history from a Russian that held varied government and academic positions (2) and part geopolitical analysis. The analysis deals with the former Soviet Union republics, the former Warsaw Pact countries, as well as the traditional Western empires. This kind of geopolitical analysis have not been very popular after the end of the Cold War, but it is coming back with a vengeance when the US, the only remaining superpower, is tired of playing a hegemonic role. So geography matters a lot for regional powers like Russia (as well as others like Turkey and Iran). I would recommend this book if you are interested in Russia or just the geopolitical perspective. This isn't my area of expertise but another geopolitical book, which I find interesting, is The Next Decade: Where We've Been . . . and Where We're Going.