Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived
A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?
Update: seemingly not
Update: Oh yeah!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The kind of person I would like to pretend doesn't exist
Younger readers will perhaps not remember that before the invention of blogs, maniacs and weirdoes had to content themselves with writing letters to the Guardian. The tradition is still maintained, rather like those old industrial museums you sometimes see, and they are a reliable source of fodder for people who want to pretend that moronic knee-jerk anti-Americanism is a powerful force in th'land. Step forward Dr Michael Pravica, of Henderson, Nevada, with the following comment on the South Ossetia crisis:
"However, Russia's justified response to Georgia's unprovoked attack on South Ossetia is no different to Nato's barbaric attack on Serbia for seeking to recontrol areas of Kosovo imbued with Islamic terrorists."
The most charitable explanation for this is that he was too angry when he wrote it to worry about consistency.
Meanwhile, Marko Attila Hoare, in the same vein, begins with "military means are not a feasible way of reversing the Russian Anschluss with Abkhazia and South Ossetia" and ends with "We should send troops to bolster her". Which perhaps ought to give anyone serving in HM Armed Forces a reasonable idea of the esteem in which Dr Hoare holds your lives, limbs and safety - he knows that sending you to prop up Georgia's right to repress the Ossetians wouldn't accomplish anything, but wants to send you anyway, in the name of "solidarity". Thank God this belligerent loon doesn't have any influence in the real world, or even (apparently) in the Henry Jackson Society.
The D^2D position on this horrible mess? I fall back on the old LBS proverb: "Not all problems have solutions". Other than to note that this sort of thing is more or less an inevitable consequence of any policy of encouraging people round the world to believe that they have a commitment of military support from NATO when they don't. Christ, we in the West are making a pig's ear out of that End Of History that we won.
Perhaps not in so many words (ie, he doesn't mention the Georgian government's use of troops against civilians at all, but he must know that it happened), but one of our leading Eustonards appears to have discovered a brand new regard for the principle of territorial integrity and the right of authoritarian governments to use harsh measures to quell dissent.
Update!: it has just been burning me up not having a fucking policy on South Ossetia for the last 48 hours, and frankly that LBS proverb sounds a lot less chin-strokingly wise and a lot more knobby than I hoped it was going to. But in a flash of inspiration while eating my afternoon bun, I have come up with one! By analogy with what I regard as the most comparable recent episode of a Great Power playing silly buggers in its back yard (which we are apparently calling the "near abroad" now, to sound like international relations scholars) when the locals elected a government that it didn't like, I am analogising the current Russian raid in Georgia to the US invasion of Grenada. And therefore I recommend that our policy with respect to this ought to be to condemn it vociferously at the United Nations, fulminate long and hard in our newspapers about breathtaking Great Power arrogance, but basically do fuck all.
Here's an interesting question for your next International Relations class; the fact that I added "but basically do fuck all" to that sentence immediately rules me out of serious consideration and turns my policy suggestion into a silly, childish rant. However, the concrete military policy summarised by the phrase "basically do fuck all", is clearly the only sane one, is one that more or less every serious analyst of the situation takes as a given, and is indeed the basic bedrock for formulating any real policy response to the situation on the ground - ie, everyone knows that we are basically going to do fuck-all. Why is it that saying this out loud is so obviously verboten and what does that say about international diplomacy (other than that I would be shit at it, presumably).
this item posted by the management 8/12/2008 02:57:00 AM