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Post-Nationalism in Russia

Robert Kagan of the Washington Post wonders if Europe is able to “bring a knife to a knife-fight” to deal with a “rich and resentful” old Russia:

Russia and the European Union are neighbors geographically. But geopolitically they live in different centuries. A 21st-century European Union, with its noble ambition to transcend power politics and build an order based on laws and institutions, confronts a Russia that behaves like a traditional 19th-century power. Both are shaped by their histories. The supranational, legalistic E.U. spirit is a response to the conflicts of the 20th century, when nationalism and power politics twice destroyed the continent. But Vladimir Putin’s Russia, as Ivan Krastev has noted, is driven in part by the perceived failure of “post-national politics” after the Soviet collapse. Europe’s nightmares are the 1930s; Russia’s nightmares are the 1990s. Europe sees the answer to its problems in transcending the nation-state and power. For Russians, the solution is in restoring them.

Read the rest here.