International Relations 101

Published on August 21 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to Brussels to huff and puff, but NATO isn't about to blow Putin's house down. We'll get an earnest statement of concern, the cancellation of military exercises with the Russians and an easy-to-retract suggestion that, just maybe if the astrologers approve unanimously, there might be a place in the Atlantic alliance for Georgia and Ukraine in the distant future. In an act of breathtaking daring, NATO ministers even put down their teacups and agreed to term the Russian invasion "disproportionate." Boy, Putin's scared now. Meanwhile, Russian troops and their mercenary auxiliaries remain on Georgian soil - and the West doesn't have a single means of moving them. War doesn't change anything? Wish it were true - but war has been humankind's preferred means of effecting change. We're all - right and left - getting an in-your-face lesson about how the world really works. Passive resistance only has a chance when your opponent believes in the rule of law and respect for human rights. Gandhi was effective against law-abiding Britain, but he would've frozen to death in the Soviet gulag - if he'd lived long enough to reach the camps. I'd love it if we lived in a world where war truly didn't work. But war does work. That doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue other means of resolving international crises - but effective idealism has to be grounded in a practical grasp of present reality. To make the world a better place, we have to begin with a clear-eyed assessment of what kind of place the world is.
Putin just showed us what stirring words about democracy and freedom are worth in the face of tanks and combat aircraft. The Georgians had the noble ideas and lofty dreams; the Russians had the troops and ammunition. Guess who won?

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Published on #Pics and Babbling

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