Imperial Gamble

Imperial Gamble

Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War

Book - 2015
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Marvin Kalb, a former journalist and Harvard professor, traces how the Crimea of Catherine the Great became a global tinder box. The world was stunned when Vladimir Putin invaded and seized Crimea in March 2014. In the weeks that followed, pro-Russian rebels staged uprisings in southeastern Ukraine. The United States and its Western allies immediately imposed strict sanctions on Russia and whenever possible tried to isolate it diplomatically.

This sharp deterioration in East-West relations has raised basic questions about Putin's provocative policies and the future of Russia and Ukraine. Marvin Kalb, who wrote commentaries for Edward R. Murrow before becoming CBS News' Moscow bureau chief in the late 1950's, and who also served as a translator and junior press officer at the US Embassy in Moscow, argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Putin did not "suddenly" decide to invade Crimea. He had been waiting for the right moment ever since disgruntled Ukrainians rose in revolt against his pro-Russian regime in Kiev's Maidan Square. These demonstrations led Putin to conclude that Ukraine's opposition constituted an existential threat to Russia.

Imperial Gamble examines how Putin reached that conclusion by taking a critical look at the recent political history of post-Soviet Russia. It also journeys deep into Russian and Ukrainian history to explain what keeps them together and yet at the same time drives them apart.

Kalb believes that the post-cold war world hangs today on the resolution of the Ukraine crisis. So long as it is treated as a problem to be resolved by Russia, on the one side, and the United States and Europe, on the other, it will remain a danger zone with global consequences. The only sensible solution lies in both Russia and Ukraine recognizing that their futures are irrevocably linked by geography, power, politics, and the history that Kalb brings to life in Imperial Gamble .

Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780815726647
Branch Call Number: 947.7086 KAL 2015
Characteristics: xix, 287 pages ; 25 cm


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Oct 30, 2016

good historical overview, but lacks maps and parts of the book are redundant

Oct 05, 2015

I am no pro-Putin type, but I've never particularly trusted Kalb, and believe Murrow to have been part of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird [fine, if I am wrong, let them release all the journalists' names, past and present]. Kalb paints everything at the strictly political level, easily neglecting the financial and contractual levels: is the US encircling Russia with weapons and strategic alignments? Most definitely. Was the USA originally a party to agreeing not to do this very thing. As far as I am aware, yes! Was the US involvement with the overthrow of the [no matter how corrupt] democratically elected administration in the Ukraine? That $5 billion spent by Sec'y Clinton and Assistant Sec'y Victoria Nuland sure went for something there!

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