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et rupture (Paris, 2000) in International Affairs (July 2002), vol. 78, no. 3, p. 647.
This book is edited by Yves Boyer and Isabelle Facon, Assistant Director and Research Director, respectively, of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research. The book consists of nine essays on Russian foreign policy and security by noted French and Russian political analysts and statesmen. The Russian authors include the Ivan Tulin (professor, Moscow State Institute of International Affairs); Irina Kobrinskaya (Director, East-West Institute, Moscow); Dmitri Trenin (Assistant Director, Carnegie Center, Moscow); Yurii Fyodorov (scholar, Institute for the Study of the United States and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences); and Konstantin Makienko (Assistant Director, Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Moscow). Besides Boyer and Facon, the French authors include Anne de Tinguy of the same Foundation for Strategic Research, and Dominique David (École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr). Two especially interesting essays are Boyer’s first one (“Les Russes”) and de Tinguy’s final essay (“La Russie peut-elle avoir une ambition asiatique?”). Boyer explains that the West’s hope for change in Russia has disappeared. If not for its nuclear power, Russia would now be considered a “pariah state.” The economy remains stagnant despite considerable international support. The mafia prospers and provokes the West. Influential policymakers from Paris to Washington disagree about the war in Chechnya. The White House has accused the Kremlin of maintaining sinful relationships (des relations coupables) with Iran and Iraq (p. 7).
Boyer argues that the real source of the West’s discomfort with Russia is its policy or “national sentiment dominated by a will to win.” This sentiment places Russia outside the norms (hors norme) of those to whom it seeks to appeal—policymakers and influential writers in the West (p. 8). In her essay, de Tinguy points out that “Russia is neither European, nor Asian, but Eurasian, a world geographically, historically and culturally separate.” (p. 191.) Russia’s partnership with China, defined since 1996 as “strategic,” was established after the shockwaves of the USSR’s collapse had dissipated. De Tinguy argues that constant lectures by Russian and Chinese leaders about the need for multipolarity stem from their shared desire to limit the power of the United States and to preserve the power of the UN Security Council, of which they are both permanent members (pp. 196-197). This shared belief prompts the Russians and Chinese to disapprove of NATO missions in Iraq, Kosovo, and East Timor. They disapproved of the U.S. and British bombing of Iraq, because the UN Security Council had not approved the action. They also condemned the NATO air raids of Kosovo and the U.S.-Japanese antimissile defense theater in the Pacific. Finally, both Russia and China rejected all peace plans for East Timor that were not endorsed by the Indonesian government or were not approved by the Security Council. De Tinguy explores all angles of the question she raised. While some see Russia and China as natural allies, others see such an alliance as a threat to Russia’s relationships with both Western and other Asian countries. Still others see China as a possible menace to Russia, since their alliance is unequal: one is a declining power
and the other is a rising power. Condemned to being a “junior” partner, Russia risks being led far from its own interests in its efforts to support its Chinese ally. In short, this volume contributes to the growing literature on current Russian foreign policy issues and should be recommended to graduate and advanced undergraduate students who read French.