A resurgent Russia is shaking Europe to its core. At the NATO summit in Bucharest, Russia in effect exercised a veto for the first time on the alliance' decision-making, by blocking expansion to Ukraine and Georgia. Too much attention has gone on the intricacies of internal politics at the top in Russia, and not enough to the big-picture story of how Russia is achieving its foreign policy goals: buying back its former empire with a mixture of bribes and gas, and Finlandising western Europe.
The "New Cold War" is about exactly this: the use of cash, clever diplomacy and energy to succeed where the Soviet Union failed. Russia has built a special relationship with Germany which is now the dominant security axis in the continent of Europe. The countries of eastern Europe now realise that their security is decided in secret deals between Moscow and Berlin--just as 70 years ago.
It is time for the west to wake up and do something about this while it still can.
Edward Lucas is the Central and Eastern Europe correspondent for The Economist. He has been covering the region for more than 20 years, witnessing the final years of the last Cold War, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet empire, Boris Yeltsin's downfall and Vladimir Putin's rise to power. From 1992 to 1994, he was the managing editor of The Baltic Independent, a weekly English-language newspaper published in Tallinn. He holds a BSc from the London School of Economics, and studied Polish at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow. The New Cold War is his first book.
Co-sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Europe, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.