James W. Peterson
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Theoretical approaches and a path from the Crimea to stability
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In terms of the ten theoretical approaches presented in Chapter One, the balance of power model carried the most explanatory force in tracing the evolution of the Russian-American relationship. The multipolar model also was strong in depicting the impact on Russian-American relations by other interested states, and it also is useful in studying the impact of that relationship on other nations and their leaders. Further, realism is the best theoretical tool in characterizing motives behind many policy initiatives of the two states. As a result, there were many points at which erosion in the relationship occurred. Their very different reactions to the Syrian civil war was one major example, but so also were continuing military provocations. Russians carried out numerous military exercises in very sensitive border regions, while the West was able to use NATO capabilittes to set up deterrents to Russian ambitions. However, convergence between the two did occur in some ways. Russian-American diplomatic tactics were minimal but meaningful, while President Putin also reached out in unexpected ways to nations such as Iran and Greece. American contacts were those of reassurance to Ukraine and the anxious states in the Baltic region as well as Poland.

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