Empires have fallen before. The British, French, and Portuguese empires all fell in the second-half of the 20th century. Our “global ruleset for processing politically bankrupt empires” has been to encourage the center of the old empire to act as a responsible country, and forget its imperial ambitions. So we purposefully went out of our way to encourage Britain, France, and Portugal to lose their imperial positions. This process was occasionally painful, for instance during the Suez Crisis which caused the collapse of the British government. However, because the center of the old empire was esentially “Core” in nature, the process was eventually successful.
When the Soviet Empire fell, the same “global ruleset for processing politically bankrupt empires” was run on Russia. This encouraged the center of the old Soviet Empire to act responsibly, while encouraging Russia to forget its old empire. This process was occasionally painful, for instance during the Kosovo War, when their client lost some territory. However, because Russia was essentially “Gap” in its nature the process failed, and we are left with a belligerent successor state — an angry version of Portugal after her empire.
I just wanted to pass on this post my Registan. Much of it discusses the Core/Gap divide, but the perhaps the most interesting paragraph notes that Georgia was the best reformer in the world and that Kazakhstan and the UAE were ready to make a big investment on the Georgian Black Sea:
Meanwhile, Barnettâ€™s Non-Integrating Gap Georgia must now contemplate exactly how Russiaâ€™s invasion will shatter itâ€™s growing success story. Ras al-Khaimahâ€™s $100m plan to turn Poti into the â€œDubai of the Black Seaâ€ is almost certainly off the table, as is future investment from Kazakhstan. And it is unclear how Georgiaâ€™s rather stunning advances in economic reform and anti-corruption will fare with Russian troops trampling all over Gori.
Russia’s actions hurt the things that would have supported Russia as a new core state. By violently attacking neighbors, Moscow is violently asserting hegemony in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is properly a way of China to organize her resource suppliers (including Russia). By attacking a reforming neighbor, Russia is helping to make her own government more obscure. By attacking sources of investment, Russia is helping to disconnect her own economy from the world.
Russia is a rogue state, a Gap dictatorship whose parasitic attacks on the Core not only endanger the peace, but whose destruction of a stable investment opportunities hurt the attempts of Seam states to invest wisely and build themselves up.
Russia is a Gap state. Russia is not a friend or a partner. Russia is a gap dictatorship that whose that slows down globalization and destroy wealth. The misery Russia causes is proportional to the power we give her.