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Viewed 243 times | Published on 2018-04-30 11:52:09


Rosefielde, Steven
Russia in the 21st century: the prodigal superpower
BookID 109428804
ISBN 9780521836784
(see LibraryThing.com card)
Description (from Amazon)This book demonstrates that Russia intends to re-emerge as a full-fledged superpower before 2010--challenging America and China and potentially threatening a new arms race. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this goal would appear to be easily within the Kremlin's grasp, but the cost to the Russian people and global security would be immense. Hence, Steven Rosefielde proposes a sophisticated strategy to dissuade President Vladimir Putin from pursuing the destabilizing course. His analysis conflicts with the post-cold-war image of the Soviet Union as a westernizing, mass consumption society committed to "peaceful coexistence."
My review: 3.5/5If I were to add metadata to my books on LibraryThing, the most common word could be ""culture"" followed by ""organizational""- as you can see from my books online, that's what I considered the backbone of my business activities over the last quarter of a century.

This book has obviously an anodyne title- as many other books in my library that deliver more than what you would assume from their cover; but it is an interesting history on change and resistance to change.

Nonetheless, for somebody sharing my interests, this book isn't just about the Russia that will be, as it delivers what I think is pivotal within change- an understanding of the underlying organizational culture (e.g. central planning in a pre-computer society).

It was funny to read it in 2014, to see how 2004 predictions coped with reality- hint: if you adopt a cultural perspective, a decade doesn't affect that much the ""freshness"" (even the ""confirmation bias"" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias) of your argument.

The most interesting part of the analysis is the evolution of ""mutual bureaucracies""- i.e. when both the observers and the observed have to negotiate or base their own existence on that of their own opponents (e.g. Kremlinology needed an opaque Soviet nomenklatura to justify cohorts of analysts making up theories- and a career- out of thin air).

While I disagree with some of the assertions of the author (and I found quite funny his habit of writing about himself and his own publications as if he were talking about a third-party source), I recognized in his analysis and data patterns that are often found in companies, e.g. those embedded in budgeting and sales planning or reporting.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the recently announced expanded ""link"" with Israel could actually help to alter some bits of the scenario (e.g. instead of creating locally open market dual-use technologies, use those provided by Israel http://www.lastampa.it/2014/06/02/blogs/caffe-mondo/una-linea-rossa-moscagerusalemme-e-la-relazione-diventa-speciale-wHprWNqCl3iawWNIhuENUK/pagina.html); to be considered: the impact of demographics (e.g. the former-USSR immigrants in Israel) and interests (e.g. from Syria to Iran, and including nuclear deterrence, such as a ""nuclear umbrella"" for the Caucasus and the Middle East).

Another book worth reading on the same line of thinking is ""Destroying the village: Eisenhower and thermonuclear war"" http://www.librarything.com/work/2005976/book/81996509, discussing the reduced degrees of freedom that were embedded in Cold War resource management

If you dislike even just reading about military issues, but are interested in understanding the long-term impact of bureaucracies, then probably ""Who paid the piper?"" http://www.librarything.com/work/230421/book/88616058 (on the ""cultural side of the Cold War"") could be a more attractive alternative

Last but not least, these three books can be complemented by two more recent books: ""Presidential Command"" http://www.librarything.com/work/7530109/book/88975946 and ""Sale of the century"" http://www.librarything.com/work/23708/book/82779096

Incidentally: as the author reports criticism from the entourage of President Yeltsin, you might also find interesting a RAND study (available online) on his decision-making approach, ""Foreign and Security Policy Decisionmaking Under Yeltsin"" http://www.librarything.com/work/11907795/book/92683207 : confrontational management based on competition between your managers...
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