Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, there has been much talk of a new Cold War between the West and Russia. Under Putin’s authoritarian leadership, Moscow is widely seen as volatile, belligerent and bent on using military force to get its way.
In this incisive analysis, top Russian foreign and security policy analyst Dmitri Trenin explains why the Cold War analogy is misleading. Relations between the West and Russia are certainly bad and dangerous but - he argues - they are bad and dangerous in new ways; crucial differences which make the current rivalry between Russia, the EU and the US all the more fluid and unpredictable. Unpacking the dynamics of this increasingly strained relationship, Trenin makes a compelling case for handling Russia with pragmatism and care rather than simply giving into fear.
"No one is a wiser, more sophisticated, more subtle or more balanced student of Russian foreign-policy then Dmitri Trenin. No one, anywhere. So, should the West fear Russia? His answer is, yes, but for reasons that are different and vastly more complex than the reasons driving the discourse in the West. US and European leaders will not get their policy toward Russia right, until they come to terms with the arguments in this book."
Robert Legvold, Columbia University and author of Return to Cold War
"Trenin's book is notable for its brevity, clarity, and sobriety. He positions himself as a therapeutic go-between, attempting to calm the West's fears and temper its knee-jerk Russophobia."
“This rich and exceedingly well-written book considers whether the impasse in relations between Russia and the West is due to Putin's ‘Realpolitik,’ or whether it reflects Putin's lack of realism about Russia's true national interests. With Trenin we are in good hands. His lively analysis rewards its audience with a stimulating reading and learning experience.”
Jack Snyder, Columbia University
“Dmitri Trenin is one of the most lucid analysts of Russia writing today. In this short but rich volume, he traces the recent history of misguided policy and conflicts of interest that have produced the current sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the West. A "new normal" has emerged, he argues. It is not a second Cold War but a period of new challenges and opportunities, in which seeing Russia clearly is critical to peace and security. To that end, there is no better place to start than this present essay.”
Thomas Graham, Managing Director, Kissinger Associates; former Senior Director for Russia on the US National Security Council staff
"Dmitri Trenin offers a balanced and thoughtful analysis of the ambitions, anxieties, and interests that have shaped Russian policy toward the West since the end of the Cold War. It is a welcome antidote to the one-dimensional views of Russia and President Putin that prevail in Western commentary."
“Dmitri Trenin makes a clear and compelling case that Russia’s Realpolitik may become more realistic, and argues that the West should fear Russia’s weakness more than its strength. Trenin’s voice of reason makes an important and hopeful contribution to the current policy debate.”
Joseph S. Nye, Jr. , Harvard University, and author of Is the American Century Over?
"There are times when the right book comes by at the right time, giving exactly the kind of insight or boost you need. This is that time, although I wish it wasn’t. Should We Fear Russia? by Dmitri Trenin is more than apropo for our time… A copy of this should be sent to every member of Congress, especially those on the Foreign Affairs Committee."