Thought Archive

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The World is changing

The Russian tank columns rumbling into Georgia reveal the anger of a tiger finally catching the mouse that has teased it for years. The troubles in Georgia are not the equivalent of an assassinated archduke in Sarajevo. But historians may well point to this little war and the spectacular Olympic launch of resurgent China, as the start of the twilight of America's sole world hegemony and reassesment of the Western dominance as a whole. For example, if the second round of the Great Game is for the oil and gas in the heart of Asia, the West may be in the process of losing it - unless something is done to counter this trend.

To govern is to choose and to choose the West must - among option on all the fronts it is currently engaged (By west one means US – and not a Western Europe debilitated by inaction) . More at stake here, than some there realize; with each retreating move opposing sides get bolder and multipolar world moves closer into being. Power centers will form around China, Russia and they will start to attach client states around them. Even if countries like China and India declare themselves non-imperialist and tread very cautiosly on the World stage, their fast rise will force them to demand a change to current situation.

Why Western clientelle status is preferred for the former soviet satellites and ex-republics is quite simple. It boils down to access to cash, open trade, borders and intellectual resources, all unavailable from other sources. Ideas of democracy matter to a degree – but in the case of autocratic Azerbaijan and Central Asia less so. For Georgia, the West is also the only source of orientation that is hostile to Russian imperialism. Despite the unreliability of the West as a partner, and its failed attempts to spread democracy into unsuitable environments, it is still can be trusted more than Russia in matters of trade, economy and politics and relied upon as the only source of prosperity.


Riri said...

The eternal fear of commies taking over! I do realize that communism is awful in practice, but to treat Russia as anti-trade and liberty is absurd. I was too small to remember socialist Algeria, but I do know from what my Mum tells me that it was quite bad. We had security and people were kept in check, but the economy was in tatters. Even things like coffee and sewing needles were unavailable in the market.

In any case, your small ex-soviet provinces should try and deal with Russia with more wisdom and long term strategy than the urgency of breaking free and joining the Western bandwagon, no matter how appealing it might look. Whenever there is a clash between big powers, it is always the ordinary people that suffer.

Hazar Nesimi said...

You are wrong in treating Russia as communist (ha), in fact it is as capitalist as US. Capital in russia belongs to a group of oligarchs connected to the Kremlin; only the pro-western oligarchs were punished, others operate with impunity. There is probably more inequality in Russia than in the West now. This is not about fear of communism but fear of Russian imperialism. Plain and simple. We try to engage with Russia and do allright, but they need to come off the arrogant mindset. Imagine if France - even after independence - would have interfered and tried to stir trouble in Algeria, removed governments at will, and tell that Algerians should do only as France tells them to. I dont know where the chicken and egg is, but here was our situation.

Riri said...

but is till don't understand why you fear russian imperialism and not western one!

they're all the same mate, in my view. that's how power politics works and has worked since time immemorial. i reckon it is your unhappy history within the soviet union which are influencing your mindset.

NoolaBeulah said...

Nazim is quite right to fear the Bear simply because the Bear has little to offer. Its economic bouyancy at the moment has the same, very limited, basis as that of Saudi Arabia, and like that closed little kingdom, whatever else they give the world is usually unwelcome (exception made for their sportswomen). Communism has nothing to do with it - this is old-fashioned Russian imperialism, just as the Soviet Union was.

Nazim is right about the unipolar world of one superpower disappearing, but that was an unnatural situation which couldn't last. We're just getting back to normal, to the old contest of powers that was put on hold during the Cold War. I don't see any real problem there - it's just something to be managed. The real problem is not with the present and future great powers, which all depend on each other economically, but with much smaller players who have little to lose and access to military hardware far beyond their real importance.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Georgian affair is my main topic of discussion and worry. Some countries have threats more significant than others- events of this week confirmed my long term suspicions. It will have huge implications across the region, with seismic shift back to cold war.

Arzu-hâl said...


Türkçe biliyor musunuz?

Hazar Nesimi said...

Evet, biraz biliyorum, Turkiyeni de seviyorum. Web site'nizi cok begendim, guzeldir.

NoolaBeulah said...

You probably don't like this guy, and I wouldn't blame you, but this analysis of Russia's strategic goals is very interesting. Do you think it makes sense?

Hazar Nesimi said...

This is not an analysis but an old wives tale. Russia is not "smart" predicting many chess moves ahead. It works on a very simple princliple of raw power - believe me. Demographic crisis maybe a looming problem, but it is not high on Putin's agenda. Cutting Georgia may be a brilliant move trying to return.

Islamic Iran, while not a strategic ally of Russia - is not an enemy of it, and has never been. Its influence and ideological power on Russian Sunni muslims is minimal- except in Azerbaijan. Russia will continue to use Iranians as far as they are able- and in fact may act as a moderate influence on the decisions taken in Tehran. Russia has some confluence of interests with the West in non-proliferation and in salafi terrorism, but with Checnya "pacified", local muslims so far pliant and oil money flowing, they think about another march into Europe, this time with oil, gas and power. A trade of Eastern Europe and Central Asia for Israel, is an utopia of an Israeli apologist. The control of Eurasia and link to China is of paramount importance to the West. I know for a fact that Russia-West relationships have taken a turn for the worse. It is obvious when you are out here.
Israel will have to tread carefully if it wants to change its protector. Russia, while exercising moderation, will never abandon Iranian link. Neither Israel will abandon its ties with Russia, or Turkey unless they are suicidal.