Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have genuine cause for concern, British historian Robert Service, an expert in Russian history, pointed out in an article in the Financial Times.
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He points out that when comparing the geo-political situation today with the Cold War era, the global situation is less predictable than the finely tuned balance of power that prevailed during the Cold War.

"In the longer term, experience suggests Putin will prove a poor geostrategic thinker. He has already damaged Russian economic interests, which surely lie in securing western assistance to build up the country's ability to cope with competition from China," Service points out.

He points out that Putin's frequent diplomatic overtures for a Syrian settlement deserve serious examination. "But he shows no sign of disengaging from Ukraine; and, having loosed the dogs of nationalism, he would find it hard to put them back in the kennel, even if he wanted to. This makes for a less predictable global situation than the finely tuned balance of power that prevailed during the cold war," the article says.

"All-out struggle between Russia and America on a cold war scale is not on the cards. What we do have, however, is a situation that is bad - and could easily worsen," Service believes, adding that it is optimistic to expect Putin to change course.

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