Book review in Eurasian Geography and Economics journal.
The lands in between: Russia vs. the West and the new politics of hybrid war
by Mitchell A. Orenstein, New York, USA, Oxford University Press, 2019, ISBN 978-0-19-093614-3
The author is a professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia Program. As such, he is well placed to comment on the nature and impact of Russian foreign policy and reactions to it. The present book is a contribution to the emerging literature on the concept of hybrid war that focuses on political relations between contemporary Russia and what the author styles as “the West”, by which he means the United States of America and the European Union. The author’s aim is “ … to explain to a general audience how the politics of hybrid war affects the lands in between, [so that] we in the West could better understand our own problems and perhaps address them more effectively.” (2). This is based on what he believes to be “ … the sudden and surprising relevance of East European politics to Western societies.” (2). This is, he says, seen by many in terms of “a civilizational choice”, (reminiscent of Samuel Huntington who came in for much liberal criticism on publication), a product of a polarized political environment in which “ … the greatest asset is not ideology but flexibility.” (6).