Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Short but sweet review in Foreign Affairs

Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics
By Richard Legvold

From Foreign Affairs , May/June 2008

The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West . Edward Lucas . Palgrave Macmillan , 2008 , 272 pp. $26.95

Lucas is no simpleton, and he does not for a moment mean to suggest that the menace of today's Russia equals the challenge the Soviet Union raised during the Cold War. But menace he does see. Russia, to his reporter's eye, has again fallen into the hands of despots warring against the rule of law; personal freedom; and fair elections, laws, and courts -- and, as bad, a leadership out to resubjugate its neighbors and "to harm [the West], frustrate us, and weaken us." Money and energy resources are the new insidious tools of penetration and subversion, no longer the overt hammer of military power. Lucas is a fine writer, and his prose has all the verve and punch that the best of his magazine, The Economist, has to offer. In a final flourish, he exhorts U.S. and European leaders to shed their wishful thinking and gird themselves to "win the New Cold War" by collectively paying the price of freedom from dependence on Russian gas; commandeering their capital markets to deny access to predatory Russian companies; kicking Russia out of organizations in which it does not belong, such as the G-8; and trumpeting the virtue of Western values over the misbegotten preferences of Russia's present leaders.

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