Damage Limitation or Crisis? Russia and the outside World
Kramer, John M., Naval War College Review
Blackwill, Robert D., and Sergei A. Karaganov, eds. Damage Limitation or Crisis? Russia and the Outside World (CSIA Studies in International Security #5) Washington, D.C.: Brassey's (US), 1994. 330pp. $18.50
This volume constitutes another addition to the scholarly debate over the future direction of Russia's foreign policy and what, if anything, the United States and its allies can do to influence it in directions congenial to their interests.
Prominent academicians from Russia and several other countries, including the United States, China, Germany, and Japan, analyze these issues thematically, assessing the prospects for democracy in Russia and delineating Russia's national interests; and regionally, by examining Russia's policy toward the "near abroad" (i.e., the other successor states of the Soviet Union) and respectively Eastern Europe, Western Europe, China and Japan, and the United States. Given Russia's current diminished role in world affairs, one might justify the omission of Russian foreign policy toward Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. Less explicably, however, given the subject of its inquiry, the volume devotes no chapter to the overall status of Russia's armed forces or the military doctrine under which they operate. Also diminishing its utility is the lack of an index and bibliography; however, the essays by Robert D. Blackwill and Steven E. Miller, in particular, do include many useful bibliographical entries in their footnotes, for the interested reader.
This work offers little solace to those inside and outside Russia who hoped that a post-communist Russia would construct a "strategic partnership" with the United States to promote international peace and stability. Summarizing the conclusions of his colleagues, Blackwill states categorically that partnership between Russia and the United States is an "empty slogan" and that it "will not be easy" for these two countries even to follow his prescription to pursue policies of "damage limitation designed for narrow cooperation when possible, and seek to forestall crisis in Russia's relations with the outside world." Even more depressing, his coeditor Sergei Karaganov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, reports that Blackwill's "largely realistic and gloomy conclusions" are actually "less pessimistic" than those held by his Russian colleagues. …