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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » September 3, 2008
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From the Editor-in-Chief
September 3, 2008   
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The confrontation with Russia is taking place in completely different circumstances than in previous confrontations. This is not just because Russia is no longer the Soviet Union and there is no "communist bloc" any more. Today's Russia is intertwined with today's West through innumerable shared interests and shared problems. This doesn't mean it has abandoned its imperial ambitions and their fundamental component-a drive to dominate the territories around it. The Brezhnev Doctrine on inviolable zones of influence has been replaced with its more modern version-the Putin-Medvedev doctrine.

This is currently being tested. The Georgian crisis provides an opportunity to try it out in a confrontation not with Tbilisi and President Saakashvili, but with the European Union and NATO. The West also has an opportunity to take a look at contemporary Russia, to test its own ability to make decisions and test their effectiveness.

After the test it will be time to analyze the results and draw conclusions. The Russians will want to chalk up their military triumph and their show of political strength-as they understand it-as pluses. What they will list on the minus side is that the West has had to sit down and add up its assets and, hopefully, begun to pull together. There are sure to be more tests in future. All this is not a harbinger of cold war, but we certainly cannot expect an idyll.
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