ON-Lion Letter
To many, the brief war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 seemed like it came out of the blue.  However, as Ronald D. Asmus argues in Palgrave Macmillan's new book A Little War that Shook the World:  Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West, the conflict's root cause was not the future status of Abkhazia or South Ossetia, but Georgia's desire to go West and Russia's determination to stop it. 

Asmus is executive director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Center of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), projects of which are supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.  A Deputy Assistant Secretary of State from 1997 to 2000, Asmus is also responsible for GMF's strategic planning.

In A Little War that Shook the World, Asmus says the war was also part of a broader Russian move to stop NATO enlargement once and for all and to change the rules of a European security system that Moscow has concluded no longer served its interests.  Russia's challenges, he believes, represent another step in the direction of a new world disorder in which Western values, norms, and influence are being eroded steadily. 

The book goes back to the 1990s to examine where things started to go wrong with Moscow and what, if anything, the West could have done differently.  It is a look at the lamentable breakdown of relations between Russia and the West and a provocative account of the first East-West post-Cold War military conflict.
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