Norman Angell Lives

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NORMAN ANGELL LIVES….Moscow’s stock market is tanking, Poland is teaming up with the U.S. on missile defense, and Russia’s neighbors are newly united in opposition to their erstwhile master. Dan Drezner comments:

So, in the end, the war has resulted in losers on all sides. Georgia has obviously lost through its aggressive behavior towards the breakaway provinces. The United States and Europe [have] lost because they clearly were not able to deter Russia in Georgia. Russia has gained the humiliation of Georgia, but is has lost in terms of its ability to raise capital and coordinate among its erstwhile allies, who seem to be juuuuust a bit nervous right now.

This is pretty much where I am too. On the surface, Russia looks newly resurgent and the West looks weak and divided. But these things don’t play out in weeks, they play out in years: Abkhazia and South Ossetia will eventually be footnotes to history, but the long-term consequences of Russia’s aggression are only starting to be felt. Russia flatly doesn’t have the military power to handle more than one Georgia or Chechnya at a time, and as tempers cool and bluster fades, this is going to become increasingly clear. This in turn means that Russia’s ability to intimidate its neighbors is going to fade too, and its economy, overly dependent as it is on oil and gas, is going to sputter. In the end, its invasion of Georgia, I suspect, will turn out to be either a wash or a net negative.

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