In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

[ 152 ] asia policy fruit of its economic growth” (p. 112). When asked which society is more fair and just, twice as many Russians choose the West over Russia (47% to 23%) (p. 106). Russians, it appears, will consciously sacrifice social justice for economic security. But oil and gas revenues are not “low hanging fruit,” and if it becomes clear to the Russian people that their economic security is illusory, they may demand liberal reform. Åslund and Kuchins have made a genuine contribution to understanding Russia today by gathering in one volume analysis on all the major aspects of Russian society. However, this reviewer hopes that future products of the Balance Sheet project will reflect more directly both Russia’s growing engagement with Asia and the internal stresses that may define U.S. policy options. Amicus Curiae: Dodging Fundamentals Steven Rosefielde The Russia Balance Sheet is a friend-of-the-court brief (amicus curiae) that tells the Obama administration what it wants to hear. The book provides a cover story for a reset policy that allows Washington to redo President Clinton’s (and Bush’s) Russia partnership strategy without committing to anything more binding than peaceful coexistence (mirnoe sosushchestvovanie). There are those who would press the United States to unilaterally disarm or indulge every Kremlin transgression, but this volume advocates a moderate approach combining revived arms control initiatives, club membership (WTO), and foreign assistance with tutorials on the virtues of democracy, free enterprise, and civic empowerment everywhere, including Georgia and the Ukraine. The reset option is on the table not because Condoleezza Rice opposed Åslund’s and Kuchin’s policy goals, but because the last administration’s partnership strategy was strained by the politics of Russia’s great power revival. During the first phase of post-Communism, when Russia succumbed to hyper-depression, the Kremlin acquiesced to its loss of empire and made steven rosefielde is Professor of Economics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He can be reached at . [ 153 ] book review roundtable • the russia balance sheet dubious concessions to the West. Once the hyper-depression passed and the petro bubble filled the treasury’s coffers, Putin reverted to the Muscovite policy of strategic opportunism by probing the possibilities of restoring the status quo ante. He not only launched the Chechen War, bullied various former Soviet-republics and satellites, played hardball with the European Union, and announced an ambitious rearmament program,1 Putin also renationalized a substantial portion of the economy’s commanding heights, adopting policies reminiscent of command economy. He likewise stifled democracy and curtailed civil liberties.2 The Bush administration responded to Moscow’s rediscovered transgressiveness by ratcheting up its rhetoric and obtaining permission to install anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (purportedly for defense against Iran); these actions produced no positive results because, like Kim Jong-il, Putin knew that the West was more apt to appease than to steadfastly confront. The Russia Balance Sheet sidesteps the dilemma of Kremlin assertiveness bypretendingthatthedeteriorationinU.S.-RussianrelationssinceBushpeered into Putin’s eyes and discovered the virtue of his soul is all a misunderstanding resulting from Rice’s insensitivity to Kremlin fears and complexes.3 Kuchins and Åslund refurbish the fable that everything that seems wrong with Russia is just growing pains; that if Moscow’s sensibilities are understood and magnanimously accommodated, democracy, free enterprise, and civil empowerment will reign for Russia’s and the world’s greater good.4 Russia, we are told, is governed by its national interest. The country’s size, wealth, and history justify the maintenance of a powerful military, while the Kremlin’s energies are primarily devoted to domestic prosperity and internationalharmony.Fromtimetotime,Russiamaybecometoopugnacious in the pursuit of national security and may extend its imperial reach beyond reason, but its leaders can be enlightened with compassionate tutoring and material incentives. In other words, Moscow is willing to play the role in the new world order envisioned in The Russia Balance Sheet. 1 Steven Rosefielde, Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2005). 2 Steven Rosefielde and Stefan Hedlund, Russia Since 1980: Wrestling with Westernization (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2009). 3 Robert V. Daniels, The Rise...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2960
Print ISSN
1559-0968
Pages
pp. 152-155
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.