Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Russia

[I like this post from Thomas P. Barnett. -Max]

Lilia Shevtsova, a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center, also saw a dual approach. The armed response and the invasion of Georgia were intended to show that Russia is back on its feet and will not tolerate Western meddling in its traditional sphere of influence, she said. But, she added, Russian leaders are also trying to suggest that they do not want to jeopardize the economic progress the nation has achieved through its ties to the West. Russia has become rich by selling oil, and it needs to sell its oil to the West, she said.
[snip] In harsh realist terms, these are exactly the sort of hard-power allies you want for a long war against radical extremism... bent on turning back globalization. Sure, it'd be nice is we only had to consort with the best people all the time, but it doesn't tend to work out that way in the real world. Truly mature democracies (we're weird in that way) tend to grow past the willingness to use force, so when you want to tap people willing to fight, you're probably talking about rising great powers with something to prove and something to protect.

The short-cut is to regurgitate Cold War memes and call it a day. That's the easy way out. The harder route is growing these rising great powers into something we can use over the long term. That's a whole lot trickier, requiring all sorts of compromises and persistent effort. [snip]

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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