Page "Paul I of Russia" Paragraph 27
The oddest part of Paul I ’ s foreign policy seems to be his rapprochement with Napoleon after the coalition fell apart.
Recently, however, several scholars have argued that this change in position, radical though it seemed, made sense, as Bonaparte became First Consul, moved away from Jacobinism, and made France a more conservative state, consistent with Paul ’ s view of the world.
Even Paul ’ s decision to send a Cossack army to take British India, bizarre as it may seem, makes a certain amount of sense: Britain itself was almost impervious to direct attack, being an island nation with a formidable navy, but the British had left India largely unguarded and would have great difficulty staving off a force that came over land to attack it.
The British themselves considered this enough of a problem that they signed three treaties with Persia, in 1801, 1809 and 1812, to guard against an army attacking India through Central Asia.
Paul sought to attack the British where they were weakest: through their commerce and their colonies.
Throughout his reign, his policies focused reestablishing peace and the balance of power in Europe, while supporting autocracy and old monarchies, without seeking to expand Russia ’ s borders.