Uniqueness: Russia’s expanding its sphere of ocean influence

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Zero sum

Influence is a Zero-Sum game

Adomanis, Oxford Russian and East European Studies, 2013

[Mark, 3-13-2013, Forbes, “The 'Putin Doctrine' And the Real Reason for Russian-American Conflict,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2013/03/13/the-putin-doctrine-and-the-real-reason-for-russian-american-conflict/, accessed 7-12-14, J.J.]

Aron spends a lot of time diagnosing the supposedly unique ills of Putinism and describing the Russian regime’s by now all too familiar litany of crimes. But he never answers, or even attempts to answer, the question that most obviously arises from his analysis: how would the United States make peace with with a deliberately hegemonic Russian foreign policy? I think the answer is very clear: it can’t. There is simply no way to square the circle of an American foreign policy designed around “global leadership” and a Russian foreign policy premised on “regional hegemony.” These two things just don’t fit together, something that is true completely independent of the Russian regime’s democratic or autocratic credentials. The two ideas are, unfortunately in a zero-sum conflict. Either the United States allows the Russians a sort of “Monroe doctrine” for the near abroad, or the Russians give up on the attempt to exert hegemony throughout the post-Soviet space. But if neither side changes its approach, if the United States continues to view any attempt by a non-aligned power to exert regional influence as a threat to be countered and if Russia continues to believe that it has the final say on the economic and political trajectory of its neighbors, then conflict is inevitable.

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