Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Great Power Realities

Do the words "Monroe Doctrine" mean anything to George W. Bush? Yes, too bad for the Georgians, but we Canadians understand what it's like to live next to a superpower. Russia may not have legitimate interests in South Ossetia, but, unfortunately, them's the breaks. This is not Czechoslovakia in 1938. Except for the past 18 years, the entire Caucasus was been part of the Russian Empire since the days of Catherine the Great, when they were pried out of the hands of the Turks. Now, they're strategically important to Russia. Russia has good reason to feel humiliated and encircled by events of the past two decades.
The mistake of Munich went back to 1919, when the Allies foisted a humiliating peace on Germany and thereby condemned the Weimar republic. That's the mistake that we should not make again. The West has already abandoned the democrats within Russia. Since it made that mistake, it has compounded the danger by playing power games along Russia's frontiers. That's a reckless thing to do to a country that lost 30 million people in two invasions in the past century.
In many ways, it would be like China nailing down alliances with all the countries of Latin America. Cuba in the 1960s and Nicaragua in the 1980s showed what the American reponse would be to any foreign meddling in its sphere of influence.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, how in hell did we think the Russians would take it when we started inviting former Soviet countries to join NATO? It's like we were rubbing their noses in the empire's collapse (and, as history has shown, these downsizes or redesigns are not necessarily permanent). I also wonder how the U.S. would react if Mexico and Nicaragua were suddenly invited to join a reconstituted Warsaw Pact.

j said...

"too bad for the Georgians"

I'd say.