In a truly contemporary analysis of Moscow's relations with its neighbors and other strategic international actors, Gvosdev and Marsh use a comprehensive vectors approach, dividing the world into eight geographic zones. Each vector chapter looks at the dynamics of key bilateral relationships while highlighting major topical issues—oil and energy, defense policy, economic policy, the role of international institutions, and the impact of major interest groups or influencers—demonstrating that Russia formulates multiple, sometimes contrasting, foreign policies. Providing rich historical context as well as exposure to the scholarly literature, the authors offer an incisive look at how and why Russia partners with some states while it counter-balances others.



Lord Palmerston's adage that “great states have no permanent friends, only permanent interests” is as true in the 21st century as it was in the 19th. In a world with nearly 200 state actors, securing a nation's interests requires constantly managing foreign policy relationships with one's allies, protecting against one's adversaries, and seeking new opportunities to strengthen the former and weaken the latter. Moreover, the definitions of friend and foe are becoming much more fluid. Describing the world today as experiencing a “Palmerstonian moment,” Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, notes that countries may not be clear adversaries or allies with the automaticity or predictability of either but instead may choose to cooperate on some issues and diverge on others.1

When analyzing ...

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