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By Vladislav M. Zubok

Western interpretations of the chilly War--both realist and neoconservative--have erred via exaggerating both the Kremlin's pragmatism or its aggressiveness, argues Vladislav Zubok. Explaining the pursuits, aspirations, illusions, fears, and misperceptions of the Kremlin leaders and Soviet elites, Zubok bargains a Soviet point of view at the maximum standoff of the 20th century.

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Additional resources for A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (The New Cold War History)

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These strategic military issues extend as well into the conventional sphere and have direct impact on European security. We have already discussed the INF treaty above. The foundation stones of European and Eurasian security are the series of treaties beginning with the Helsinki treaty of 1975, its extension at Moscow in 1991, the 1987 Washington INF Treaty, the 1990 CFE Treaty, extended in 1999, the Paris and Rome treaties between NATO and Russia in 1997 and 2002, and the START and SORT treaties from 1991-2002.

This increasing mutual estrangement grows out of both American and Russian domestic trends. , its pretensions to great power status. 185 The mounting Russian perception of increased military threats from America and NATO also plays no small role in this litany of grievances against Washington and the West. 58 While there is obviously no lack of foreign or domestic criticism of the Bush administration’s policies or reasons for engaging in that practice, it is equally obvious that the administration now is hamstrung and isolated, largely due to Iraq and its repercussions.

Rather, it is an attempt by Russia to force America to give Russia a veto over its policies and trigger further dissension in NATO. Thus Baluyevsky argued that “In our opinion, military activity by the alliance close to Russia’s borders should be comprehensible to Russia and commensurate with the new challenges and threats that are rising. ”106 This demand is, in fact, a tried, tested, but also tired Soviet and post-Soviet refrain. Obviously this is unacceptable to Washington, NATO, and its members.

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