Re: The Bad Guys


Stephen Holmes, "Transitology" is more about the failure of Russia's attempt to open up after 1991, but the last few paragraphs are relevant:

At least some important players in Russia's foreign policy establishment today detest America more bitterly than did their predecessors in Brezhnev's time, who saw Americans as troubled adversaries not 'triumphalist' preachers. It could be argued that virulent anti-Americanism has become more of a serious problem in a unipolar world than it was during the Cold War. And Washington may ultimately pay a steep price for its obliviousness to worldwide ambivalence towards American power and prosperity, and especially for its unwillingness to recognise that America's critics are sometimes right.
The security interests of the West can be defended only if Russia sees itself as an accepted member of the world community, that is to say, only if its leaders voluntarily choose to spend scarce resources in pursuing objectives that Russia shares with the West. Elite resentment of high-handed US behaviour provides just another reason for an already disorganised Russian state to look the other way when faced with a proliferation of advanced weapons technology. This danger is exacerbated by the 'growing markets for Moscow's weapons and nuclear capabilities among states that already worry Washington'. As the world's pushiest arms merchant, the United States lacks the moral credibility to instruct the Russians - who sometimes dream of an armaments-driven industrial recovery - not to peddle lethal appliances to states with mentally unstable rulers. But if the Russians eventually add nuclear and other terrifying weapons to the armoury of the weak, as the Bush Administration apparently expects them to do, the West may eventually be forced to taste the fruits of its failed crusade. Neoliberalism may also be relevant here, at least tangentially. Clandestine groups, capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction with no return address, may turn out to be the most unforgettable beneficiaries of those politically unregulated markets on which the West's stupefying prosperity currently rests.

It's from April 2001, though. Didn't 9/11 change everything?

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 7-06 8:52 PM
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My suspicion is that this is going to be the big fuckup of the Iraq War.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 7-06 8:55 PM
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As long as Putin doesn't go Communist, I think we'll continue to basically be fine with it.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10- 7-06 8:58 PM
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2:And Chinese soft power

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 7-06 10:14 PM
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You people are so gloomy today.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10- 7-06 10:24 PM
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You might be interested in this.

So they finally got Politkovskaya. I always chalk these things up to rogue forces in the security services rather than orders from the Kremlin, mostly because I somehow don't imagine Putin really feeling threatened enough to order a hit himself.

Posted by: susan | Link to this comment | 10- 7-06 11:07 PM
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Thanks Susan, the part about illiberal nationalists being hostile to cooperative anti-proliferation efforts is exactly the kind of thing I was wondering about.

I somehow don't imagine Putin really feeling threatened enough to order a hit himself

The great thing about tolerating rogue forces is that you never have to do anything yourself.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 12:02 AM
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eb, I totally remember Stephen Cohen being all over the news when his book came out. Not so much now. The parts of that article about builidng a "neo-America" are a lot like the parts in the paper Susan links about the fact that there's relatively a lot of international attention paid to setting up political parties in Russia, when surveys show that most Russians don't want political parties, especially if they're established with foreign help.

Maybe I am feeling gloomy, but has anything gone well with American foreign policy in the last, say, ten years?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 12:10 AM
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Maybe I am feeling gloomy

I'm glad to hear someone shares my feelings about the Yankees' loss.

What, you're talking about something else?

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 12:23 AM
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baa is a Bostonian.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 12:57 AM
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I just noticed that I bookmarked this Cohen article months ago, but haven't read it.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 2:51 AM
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I have noticed the Right-wing blogs have been tellingly silent on this issue. Obviously, they approve of both squelching free speech and murder, as long as the targets are journalists.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 9:40 AM
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Russia gives the US support (or at least doesn't protest about) it's military misadventures. It also sells Europe huge quantities of natural gas. In combination, these will get it a free pass for anything it does inside its borders.

Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 12:46 PM
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Statistics suggest that autocracies and democracies are more likely to war with one another than democracies are with each other. To the extent that Russia becomes autocratic, the baseline probability for a future military conflict therefore increases.

Posted by: Gad | Link to this comment | 10- 8-06 1:24 PM
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