Russia Faces NATO Expansion: Bearing Gifts or Bearing Arms?

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9780847698660: Russia Faces NATO Expansion: Bearing Gifts or Bearing Arms?

The immediate and long-term importance of Russian thinking about NATO expansion eastward has been badly underestimated in the West. Indeed, most Western analysis has striven to provide justification for the West's policy of enlarging the alliance rather than examining its potential drawbacks. Although the NATO issue has been articulated primarily by the Russian elite, it has manifested itself in a rising reservoir of ill-will toward the West that cannot be ignored.

In this first comprehensive English-language assessment of the Russian position, J. L. Black seeks to remedy that oversight with a thorough examination of Russian official statements, expert analysis, political platforms, and media commentary. Taken together, they show the degree to which NATO expansion has brought a rare unity to the otherwise fragmented and volatile Russian political arena.

The author first provides a detailed account of Russian reactions to NATO's plans since the early 1990s. He then analyzes how the NATO question shapes Russian strategic thinking, military reforms, and election campaigning, and how it affects Moscow's relationships with Ukraine, the Baltic States, China, and the CIS. Crises in Yugoslavia and Iraq are used as case studies. Based entirely on Russian-language sources, this timely study provides invaluable insights into current Russian thinking on NATO expansion and projects the significance of such thinking for the Western Alliance into the future.

Detailed and definitive, Black's clearly written and balanced assessment of this overriding legacy of the Cold War will be the definitive history of the Russian perspective during a crucial period in Western security and essential reading for policymakers, scholars, and concerned general readers alike.

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About the Author:

(SHORT BIO)
J. L. Black is professor of Russian and Soviet history and director of the Centre for Research on Canadian-Russian Relations (CRCR), Carleton University, Ottawa.

(LONG BIO)
J. L. Black is professor of Russian and Soviet history and director of the Centre for Research on Canadian-Russian Relations (CRCR), Carleton University, Ottawa. He received a Ph.D. in history from McGill University in 1968 and went on to teach at Laurentian University. He moved to Carleton University in 1976.

He is the author of Nicholas Karamzin and Nineteenth Century Russian Society: A Study in Russian Political and Historical Thought (1975), Citizens for the Fatherland: Education, Educators, and Pedagogical Ideals in Eighteenth-Century Russia (1979), G.-F. Müller and the Imperial Russian Academy, 1725–1783 (1986), Into the Dustbin of History: The USSR from August Coup to Commonwealth, 1991 (1993), and Canada in the Soviet Mirror: Ideology and Perception in Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917–1991 (1998).

Review:

An invaluable and most informative contribution to the debate. (International Affairs)

A pathbreaking attempt to look at NATO expansion systematically through Russian lenses. The author has prepared for this task by decades of work on Russia's intellectual and political history, which gives him the essential longue duree perspective that is often missing from Western writings on Russia's foreign policy. . . . The book is written in an elegant and accessible prose and is vividly illustrated by cartoons from Russian newspapers. (Survival)

[This] detailed and exhaustive survey demonstrates the perception of NATO's modification and its move eastward precisely from Russia's point of view. The book, based on the study of predominantly Russian language sources and written in a clear and comprehensive manner, represents the first important attempt by a Western author to look at the issue through the opposite side's eyes. . . . The book undoubtedly will be a significant contribution to the critical analysis of this international security issue, representing not a mere description of the situation during some limited time period but a far-sighted analysis.... Black's work acquires a special value by having been written in a period when tensions in East-West relations are still not settled and when it is of crucial importance to avoid 'dangerously little understanding of Russia' in the West. (Europe-Asia Studies)

Given the spate of books published promoting NATO enlargement, J. L. Black's book, illustrating the negative effects of this policy on Russian politics, has been sorely needed. . . . Black has done an admirable job documenting a complex and contentious issue in almost exclusively Russian-language sources. . . . Russia Faces NATO Expansion represents a cogent, organized, and well-written contribution to scholarship. . . . The book will fit well in both graduate and undergraduate courses on post-Soviet politics. (H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

J. L. Black has written an original and valuable book. . . . The lasting value of this book lies in Black's ability to convey an accurate impression of the state of mind of the Russian political elite in reference to NATO enlargement, and of the west more generally. (Slavic Review)

Black has written a balanced, thorough, informative work on Russian views of NATO enlargement/expansion. An indispensable contribution to our understanding of Russian thinking on the subject, the importance of which will increase in the years ahead. (Alvin Z. Rubinstein, University of Pennsylvania)

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Black, J. L.
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