When Revanchism Does not Equate to Revisionism: Taking Stock of the New U.S.-Russian Great Power Rivalry

The events of recent years are less representative of a shift in Russian strategy than they are of the fragmentation of the international order. The end of the Cold War brought with it a Western-led attempt to render the liberal international order synonymous with international order writ large. The return of great power rivalry indicates that this project has failed. Emerging in its wake is a struggle over the contours of the first truly global order in modern history—one in which formal empires and superpower blocs have been abandoned in favor of an order of global scope rooted in universal sovereignty. In this sense, at least, both the United States and Russia have become equally revisionist—as they have become locked in a zero-sum struggle over the shape of European security arrangements—even as they both claim to defend the status quo.


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