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PRESIDENT Sauli Niinistö spoke of a new cold war when he visited Russia. He was not using the bland, meaningless phrases of diplomacy, but instead was open and frank about the current state of East-West relations. His admission of our perilous situation is welcome, but what we need now is a way to thaw out the situation.

RUSSIA'S long-term goal is to halt its regional marginalisation. Since the fall of the Soviet Union many of its satellite states have joined the European Union. While the EU has been mostly benign towards Russia, the spread of NATO into the Baltics and Eastern Europe has to be more troublesome. America has also expanded its military into central Asia. If Russia feels it is being squeezed, that is because it is being squeezed.

AS SOON as the Soviet Union collapsed the idea of a new union appeared. The Commonwealth of Independent States was one half-hearted attempt, but Vladimir Putin has opted instead for the Eurasian Economic Union. This would be similar to the EU, starting out as an economic union and perhaps evolving into a military and political one. Russia couldn't do much about losing the Baltics from its sphere of influence, but it is now stronger and willing to make a stand about Ukraine.

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David J. Cord
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