In This Review

Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post--Cold War Order (Boston Review Originals)
Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post--Cold War Order (Boston Review Originals)
By Rajan Menon and Eugene B. Rumer
The MIT Press, 2015, 248 pp

Here is a calm, clear alternative to the many emotional efforts to place blame for the crisis in Ukraine on one side alone. In the heat of a historic turn of events, policymakers and analysts often find it difficult to get outside the drama. They tend to join the fray, bolstering arguments favored by one side or the other. Menon and Rumer leave no doubt about the boundaries Russia crossed in seizing Crimea and fueling the war in eastern Ukraine, but they do not settle for the common one-dimensional explanation that attributes Russian actions to President Vladimir Putin’s alleged imperial fantasies. Instead, they step back for a wider view, looking at Ukraine’s evolution since independence; examining U.S., EU, and Russian policy before and during the crisis; and considering the long-term implications of the crisis for both Russia and Ukraine. From that perspective, the path leading to the present impasse hardly appears simple or straightforward. The modest length of the book and its crisp prose complement the efficiency and restraint of the analysis.