It should not be puzzling that the intense divisions emerging in post-Soviet space have only recently captured the broader attention of international relations specialists. After all, when the USSR collapsed many Western academics and policy-makers assumed that the ‘Russia question’, whether for reasons of ideology or raw material power, could finally be relegated to secondary importance (Shearman, 2001). And although Russia’s place in the European order was left unresolved, new arcs of conflict involving transnational terrorism, ethnic struggles, and the ongoing redistribution of global power from the West to the East provided significantly more useful fodder for analysis in the post-Cold War era. In such a milieu the wars in Chechnya, instability in Central Asia, gas wars with Ukraine, and Russian objections to NATO expansion were considered fundamentally less important by successive US administrations concerned about maintaining American eminence or managing its retrenchment. The question of what to do in the aftermath of the Soviet breakup was also neglected by the EU, which assumed that existing institutions and organizations could merely be extended or amended, rather than replaced with a fundamentally new architecture for the management of Eurasian security politics.
KeywordsForeign Policy Regional Order Shanghai Cooperation Organization Transnational Terrorism Soviet Space
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