Nick Hordern reviews 'Return to Moscow' by Tony Kevin

The idea that the world faces a second Cold War started out as hyperbole, but by 2016 it was sounding increasingly plausible. For more than a decade, Moscow, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, had been waging a diplomatic, political, and military campaign to restore Russian power – in the Caucasus, in Ukraine, and in Syria. In the West this has usually been portrayed as unprovoked aggression, but Tony Kevin takes the opposing view. It is the West, he argues, which has behaved aggressively towards Moscow.

Kevin is a former Australian diplomat, regarded in Canberra policy circles as an ‘old lefty’. And not only does the argument of Return to Moscow recall those made by the left during the first Cold War, it is based on questions still open at the end of that conflict, crucially this one: was Moscow promised that NATO would not expand into eastern Europe?

If you believe that Putin’s behavior demands a robust Western response backed by military force, your answer to that question is ‘no’, or perhaps ‘that’s irrelevant’. But if you are Putin – or Tony Kevin – the answer is ‘yes’ and, rather than being some arcane historical detail, the issue determines your entire outlook. This is the sort of disagreement that starts European wars.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in March 2017, no. 389

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.