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By Edward B. Saff

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4. , pp. 90–93. 5. , p. 102. 6. , p. 213. 7. See the revisionist book The Russian Origins of the First World War, by Sean McMeekin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011). This traditional Russian war aim was repudiated by the Bolsheviks, who took power in 1917. One of their popular antiwar slogans was, “We don’t want the Dardanelles,” p. 231. 8. Kennedy, Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, p. 233. Much of the following paragraph is drawn from pp. 232–41 of this book. 9. , p. 240. 10. Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), p.

Lord Palmerston, Britain’s Russophobic foreign secretary and prime minister in the mid-nineteenth century, stated the case for Russian untrustworthiness in 1860: The Russian government perpetually declares that Russia wants no increases of territory, that the Russian dominions are already too large. ”14 Even when the tsar was a dominant personality, Kissinger observes, the autocratic system of policymaking weighed against coherence in policy, while the tsar’s “princely lifestyle” made it difficult for him to concentrate attention on foreign issues over a sustained period.

At least in part, this ambivalence reflects a duality in what “the West” represents. As Bruce Porter has written, there was not 34 THE TSARIST ROOTS OF RUSSIA’S FOREIGN POLICY only the liberal West of the Enlightenment, so beloved by many Russian “Westernizers,” but also the other West—“the militarized, regimented, technological juggernaut” embodied by the armies of Charles XII, Frederick the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Kaiser Wilhelm. ”19 However accurate are Kissinger’s insights on this point, he nevertheless overstates the extent to which the “passionate sense of mission” was a characteristic of official attitudes, as opposed to an undercurrent in society.

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