Triggers, Traps, and Mackinder's Maps: The Russian Bear, NATO, and the Near Abroad
AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE United States
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The United States renewed focus on great-power competition means Western leaders must understand why, when, where, and to what end Russia will militarily intervene in world conflicts. Until it waded into the Syrian civil war in 2015, however, post-Cold War Russia projected power only in its near-abroad, specifically, former Soviet Satellite Republic SSR nations. This comparative case-study uses three of those interventions. This thesis uses a critical-juncture framework to determine what factors drove Russia to intervene with overt, conventional military force in Georgia 2008 and Ukraine 2014, but not in Estonia 2007. In each case study, the researcher analyzed and compared five aspects historical relationship with Russia, Russian-diaspora composition, Russian military presence, NATO-member status, and strategic geographic significance to Russia. The researcher found the target countrys NATO-membership status or its strategic geographic significance to Russia were critical in the divergent outcomes.
- Government and Political Science