Stent is a veteran Russia watcher who has served in senior positions in the U.S. government. She hardly qualifies as an apologist for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but she gives him ample credit for achieving his main foreign policy goals: reasserting Russia’s position as a global player, protecting the country’s sovereignty, gaining respect from non-Western actors, and overcoming the West’s attempts to isolate Russia. To Stent, a historical outlook is indispensable for understanding Putin’s foreign policy. For centuries, she explains, the country’s vast territory and lack of natural borders have bred a deep-seated sense of vulnerability. Putin saw the West…