The Evolving Security Environment in Asia: Its Impact on Russia

by Jonathan D. Pollack

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Although Russia is still in quest of a viable, fully accepted role in Asia, it has been able to establish the main dimensions of its post-imperial foreign and security policy in the area--the pursuit of multipolarity; nonadversarial relations with all regional powers, enhanced collaboration in energy development; and an increased role in arms sales and technology transfer. The author examines the impact on Russia of three alternative future security scenarios: (1) Incremental change and no crisis would on balance prove favorable to Russian interests; (2) greatly enhanced regional accommodation and subregional integration would afford major economic and political opportunities for Russia; (3) a destabilized Asia would prove a disaster for Russia's political and economic opportunities in the area. However, a credible longer-term Russian role in Asian and Asia-Pacific security will ultimately depend on political and economic stability within Russia, which seems to be a distant prospect.

Originally published in: Russia and Asia : The Emerging Security Agenda, Gennady Chufrin, ed., Oxford University Press, pp. 447-473.

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