The New Cold War

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

The New Cold War

by Edward Lucas

Bloomsbury, HK$190

The subtitle to Edward Lucas' alarming book reads: How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West. Readers may judge that more appropriate than The New Cold War. After all, during the 'old' cold war Soviet military muscle and the nuclear arms race were the result of its rivalry with the US. The sparring also centred on ideology. But Lucas chooses the provocative title not to provoke the sort of fear prevalent from the 1940s to early 90s. His intention is to wake the world from its complacency about Russia's move towards autocracy and control, politically and economically, especially of its neighbours Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine. He accuses Russia of using high oil and gas revenues to buy influence and mute criticism. Just as many Russians have never 'lived so well and so freely', he writes, its ex-KGB ruling elite under outgoing President Vladimir Putin have effectively warned critics of the cost of challenging the Kremlin. The murders of opponents of the regime have heightened worries. Fear has also been stoked with trade sanctions and energy blockades, which is why Lucas advises building oil and natural gas pipelines that bypass Russia. The New Cold War is a chilling work that should prompt heated reaction.


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