NATO and Russia, Russians and NATO: A turning point in post-cold war East-West relations?

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Abstract

In this article I have two main objectives. First, I consider the process of NATO expansion eastward as it affects Russia, and attempt to identify the various currents of Russian opinion on the subject. Second, I consider where that body of opinion might turn in the future as NATO grows in size (that is, how the process will influence the Russian political environment), and how these dynamics might be felt in broader East-West relations. Faced with a fait accompli by the West, particularly the United States, regarding NATO expansion because of its relative geostrategic weakness after the cold war, Russian leaders concluded that they could not halt the process. Rather, they have tried to manipulate the terms of NATO's eastward expansion, seeking to minimize the perceived security challenges that such a state of affairs will bring. Moreover, it appears, and the statements of various Russian leaders and commentators lend credence to this assertion, that for many Russian leaders, the NATO expansion issue is not necessarily separate from other Russian foreign policy initiatives. As I discuss below, Russia at times attempts to 'balance' its relations with NATO countries by strengthening its ties with states that are anti-Western in their foreign policies (for example, China and Iran). Although Russia's international power and influence after the cold war are diminishing, the country's leaders strive to find strategies to maintain a favorable position in regional and world affairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Affairs
Volume162
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)

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