1980s Thinking

If you’re geopolitical orientation is basically that from the late Cold War, and you believe that a country roughly as powerful as Portugal should be viewed (together with the Muslims) as being ‘the whole world,’ this post makes a lot of sense:

We modeled the behavior, and now it’s being imitated. We’ll over-react and then it’s off to the races. I used to believe the damage of the first Bush administration could be “reset” by the better behavior of the second Bush administration, meaning we’d reset the clock back to roughly 9/11 geopolitically. But the damage now seems worse than that. We’re reverting all the way back to the late 1980s.

And if you want to scenario-ize globalization’s destruction, this is a realistic pathway.

The only way it really goes downhill is if America is suckered by circumstances into believing it must basically take on the entire world. This is Bin Laden’s supreme dream, affording him more strategic wiggle room than he ever dared to hope would be his.

A nice rendition of why it’s okay to be gloomy right now on globalization (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

I don’t think it does for anyone else, though.

The fall of the Soviet Empire brought us real advantages, such as the integration of New Core of Central Europe (and now the Seam of Eastern Europe) into the global economy.  However, a much bigger prize was the discrediting of socialism generaly, which allowed China to accelerate her reforms and India to begin hers.   

The only “Cold War thinking” I have seen in response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia has been posts like this, by people who are convinced (for no reason they have shared) that a dying Gap state is so important in itself. 

There are dangers coming from Russia’s invasion of Georgia.  Such as rewarding the invasion of neighboring countries and expanding the Gap generally.  But these are nothing that we did not face when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. That did not destroy globalization.  That merely was a teachable moment on the question of war as a tool of diplomacy.  This is the same.

(Note, by the way, that these posts, which show Russia as being ten feet tall, talk all the time of ‘modeling’ but never of behavior modification through rewads.  One concept is in pop culture. Another is a well observed behavior of all learning systems. The lack of analyis by the Russia-first crowd is all the more disturbing, because of its repetitive rhetoric and narrow focus. )

Russia is not an evil empire, not half the world economy, only a runt gap state lashing out aat one pillar of the Core when another pillar does not go along.  The only country so far to recognize Russia’s dreamlands of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is Nicaragua, of all places! (ButBelarus may be on board too, if you want to run up the number of Russia’s friends!)  Russia has had its feeling hurt in two organizations it thought it owned — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (actually run by China) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (a gathering of fellow central asian dictatorships) — neither of which recognized the dremlands either.

My advice: Abandon the thinking of the 1980s.  It is a generation out of debate.