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Back to the Future in Ukraine and Asia

NEW YORK – With Russian troops occupying Ukrainian territory and the Chinese Navy inhabiting Philippine territorial waters in the South China Sea, the world is now entering a dangerous time warp.

In geopolitical terms, Russia and China are reenacting the norms of the nineteenth-century, when states competed by amassing hard power in a system of unbridled nationalism and rigid state sovereignty. Indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be trying to reassemble the nineteenth-century map of Czarist Russia by holding on to Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and other parts of the old empire at all costs.