The Price of the Portuguese, this Salazar with a Slavic name

Without emotion, without outrage or trembling, without rage or a sense of justice, I want to consider the following question:

Is ending war as we have known it worth the price of Portugal?

Or, to put it more bluntly, in terms that may make your heart raec and your forehead sweat blood:

Is Portugal falling off the map an acceptable price to pay for world peace.

I assume you have stopped laughing.

But the Portugese are real people, too. There are some serious prices that may have to be paid — on their end

Is the end of wars as we have known them worth the economic dislocation of no longer accepting Portuguese raw materials?
Is the end of wars as we have known them worth visa restrictions on the free movement of overseas Portuguese?
Is the end of wars as we have known them worth a couple of al Qaeda strikes on Lisbon?

In these questions, we see the human cost. We recognize that the Portugue share our basic humanity, we understand how expensive education can be, and we curse this fallen world.

OK, one more:

Is the end of war as we have known it worth a Cold War with Portugal?

I guess you are laughing agian.

This is the dilemma we face in responding to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, it’s resumption of war as a means of diplomacy. Moscow — that gap capital temporarily on par with Lisbon due to high oil prices — must be stopped. Not because it is Russia — though Russia certainly is an inherently destabilizing country –nor because it invaded a Core country — though Georgia but not Russia is in the WTO — but because it uses war as a method of diplomacy.

When people try to scare with you a new “Cold War,” they are stuck in the past. Portugal is not able to engage is in a cold war. Neither is Russia, because Russia is as weak as Portugal.

Rather, Russia’s invasion of Georgia is another case of a Gap state invading a Core one. Core states generate wealth. Gap states take it. Russia is behaving like so many other Gap states.

Fight Russia. Either remove this Salazar with a Slavic name , or leave him in office long enough to finish destroying Russia.

11 thoughts on “The Price of the Portuguese, this Salazar with a Slavic name”

  1. Yup, so a Saddam Hussein with nukes.

    The Hussein analogy is important to emphasize Putin’s mix of successes (Destroying domestic opposition) and failures (destroying his country’s soft power).

    The Portugal analogy is important to emphasize the certain scale of this problem. Containing Iraq hardly wrecked globalization.

  2. Jay,

    What plausible effect does Portugal have on Europe’s energy policies?

    The pain Russia can cause by cutting off energy exports is much more focused than would be an abrupt strategy of autarky by the Portuguese Republic, but both are ultimately self-defeating. The more Russia attempts to use its energy exports as political leverage against Europe, the more incentivized Europe will be to move off Russian energy.

    Ultimately, the cost of natural gas relative to renwables (wind, solar, nuclear, and so on) has to go up, the question is at what rate and on whose terms.

  3. War has *always* been a means of diplomacy. The difference between today and one hundred years ago is that *great-power* war is (generally–although there are possible exceptions) too destructive to risk for limited gains.

    As for the Russia/Portugal thing–I think others have pretty well covered that.

  4. Dan McIntosh,

    War has *always* been a means of diplomacy. The difference between today and one hundred years ago is that *great-power* war is (generally–although there are possible exceptions) too destructive to risk for limited gains.

    You’re free to say something is always, or always not, the case, but then you lose it as a tool of analysis. There’s no variance in the population if something is always present: it can no longer be used to explain anything, or be explained by anything.

    The difference between now a twenty years ago is a dramatic drop of in *interstate*, not just great-power, war.

    If you want to be precise, you may say that the incidence of use of war as a tool for diplomacy declined dramatically after the fall of the Soviet Union and the decimation of Iraq, which together signaled a hegemonic international system where the cost of using war as a tool of diplomacy was significantly increased.

    As for the Russia/Portugal thing–I think others have pretty well covered that.

    Agreed. The analogy hold quite well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *