The Russian Bear Returns

February 24, 2023

This is the second installment of Mid-Afternoon Map, our exclusive members-only newsletter that provides a cartographic perspective on current events, geopolitics, and history from the Caucasus to the Carolinas. Subscribers can look forward to interesting takes on good maps and bad maps, beautiful maps and ugly ones — and bizarre maps whenever possible.

Since last year’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russian bear has returned to the map. Brown or polar by turns, he is once again sharpening his claws, opening his jaws, and prowling across the pages of our papers. As metaphors go, it isn’t the most subtle, but then bears aren’t supposed to be. Absent a suitable deterrent, they amble through the international order, snacking on norms of sovereignty and overturning arms control treaties like poorly secured trash bins.

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