russia and the history of ‘eurasianism’

CzarPádraig Murphy at The Dublin Review of Books:

There is thus a lively debate in Russia itself on the country’s orientation. The question is, where does the leadership stand in this debate? The answer is difficult, because not only has Russia become more autocratic under Putin, but the circle of real decision-makers has become ever smaller. According to some accounts, it may consist of no more than five people. But, reviewing the period since 2000, when Putin assumed power, it is plausible that it began with a continuation of a commitment to democracy and a market economy, associated with a growing resentment at lack of consideration on the part of the West to certain deep Russian concerns – NATO enlargement, treatment as a poor supplicant, disregard for what are seen as legitimate interests in the neighbourhood etc. Angela Stent cites a senior German official complaining of an “empathy deficit disorder” in Washington in dealing with Russia. The pathology that this caused became progressively more virulent in the intervening years, culminating in 2003 in the invasion of Iraq without any Security Council mandate, indeed, in open defiance of the UN. After this, the New York Times magazine’s Ron Suskind reported on a visit to the Bush White House in 2004 in the course of which he recounts that “an aide” (commonly supposed to be Karl Rove) “said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community’, which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality’… ‘That’s not the way the world really works any more’, he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

more here.