Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Understanding Russian Foreign Policy
Understanding Russian Foreign Policy

Understanding Russian Foreign Policy

Antoly Torkunov, editor, et al., Russia and the United States in the Evolving World Order(Moscow State Institute of International Relation, 2018).

The collapse in relations between the Russian Federation and the West over the past five years have produced much more recrimination than understanding. Americans and Europeans are angry at Russia’s intervention in their democracies and fearful that Russia’s use of force to seize Crimea has opened a new era of Russian militarism abroad. Yet, Western anger, fear, and frustration at Russia have not been accompanied by clarity about what Russia is up to. Indeed, Americans and Europeans appear if anything more confused by the sources of Russian conduct today than at any point in recent history. The Kremlin’s foreign policy is said to be driven by fear of regime change, a need to distract its own population from domestic failings, fear of NATO enlargement, opposition to the European Union, or a desire to resurrect either the tsarist or Soviet empires. Properly diagnosing the drivers of Russian foreign policy is crucial if the United States and Europe are to devise effective strategies toward Russia.

In a new volume titled Russia and the United States in the Evolving World Order, a group of Russian academics from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) set out to explain U.S.-Russian relations and to provide suggestions for how to get the relationship back on track. MGIMO is a university that operates under the auspices of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it has trained many of Russia’s leading diplomats over the past half century. Its scholars are therefore well placed to explain how Russia’s foreign policy establishment views the world and how it diagnoses the origins of the current crisis in relations between Russia and the West.

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