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Yes, the points about the differences between Russian actions and what I will refer to as the interpretation of the West's "chattering classes" do stand, but not with respect to the actual policy actions of the US or of the defense and policy thinkers who have the most influence on outcomes. Also, they do not stand with respect to the author's own theory of a sort of anti-neoliberal ideological basis for Putin's actions.  

All of Putin's actions, and those of the US, are completely explained the the realist theory of international relations -- that the interests of power always take precedence, and that "the strong will do what they must while the weak can only do what they can."  No ideological explanation is necessary, and it appears doubtful that Putin is really interested at all in anti-neoliberal or any other post-modernist inspired discourse. He has never indicated, in his entire, well publicized life, any interest in such thinking.

Realism, on the other hand, is the same principal of foreign policy (and all policy really) that has dominated thinking in the affairs of statecraft since Thucydides first made the observation, and later re-popularized by Machiavelli,  Henry Kissinger, and now still be taught and argued by people like John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt, as well as having comprised the core pedagogy of both US and Russian military staff colleges for over a century, at least.  

Realism is how US and Russians think and how their soldiers and diplomats have been educated, and it is how they expect the other to interpret events and actions, and nothing that has actually transpired in events in Europe, right down to the infamous "fuck the EU" phone call and exposure by Russia, contradicts a purely realist interpretation of what is going on in both Russian and American policymakers' minds.  Only the blogosphere, and perhaps various EU heads of state, appear to be consistently duped by US and Russian press releases.

by santiago on Wed Apr 9th, 2014 at 03:48:14 PM EST
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