Monday, August 11, 2008

An authority speaks (a little less delusionally than is usual)

"Historians will come to view Aug. 8, 2008, as a turning point no less significant than Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Russia's attack on sovereign Georgian territory marked the official return of history, indeed to an almost 19th-century style of great-power competition, complete with virulent nationalisms, battles for resources, struggles over spheres of influence and territory, and even -- though it shocks our 21st-century sensibilities -- the use of military power to obtain geopolitical objectives. Yes, we will continue to have globalization, economic interdependence, the European Union and other efforts to build a more perfect international order. But these will compete with and at times be overwhelmed by the harsh realities of international life that have endured since time immemorial. The next president had better be ready."

I readily agree that Russia has confirmed that it is what it seemed to be - a despotic power still. The amount of money sloshing around there is frightening though, as a backdrop to this. I have to say I had to restrain myself at the sight of Bush waving his little US flag at the Olymics, as if it matters. But then, in the back of my mind I always think of Drake's game of bowls, and in truth there's nothing like staying calm.

I think that Kagan's notion that the EU will simply sail cautiously through is very optimistic- the EU has gathered together in weakness, and is like a herd of ruminants which has suddenly discovered there's a tiger in the bushes; the tiger is wounded by history and pretty hungry too.

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