The Eastern Dimension
This chapter explores Russia's relations with Asian countries. Whereas in the past, Asia had served as an area of Russian expansion, today its phenomenal economic dynamism, rapid demographic growth, and increasing political assertiveness present a major challenge to Russia. Alongside America's relative dominance, and Europe's new unity, Asia's rise has dramatically altered the international environment for Russia. How Russia responds to it will in large part determine its future, as the sheer diversity and complexity of the East presents enormous policy challenges to Russian decision makers. Intellectually, Moscow grasps the need for a more considered, balanced, and long-term strategy toward Asia. In practice, however, pursuit of this goal is undermined by lack of vision, inconsistent policy making, ideological hang-ups, and an anachronistic geopolitical mind-set.
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