Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Spengler on Georgia

This guy gets it:
Contrary to the hyperventilation of policy analysts on American news shows, the West has no vital interests in Georgia. It would be convenient from Washington's vantage point for oil to flow from the Caspian Sea via Georgia to the Black Sea, to be sure, but nothing that occurs in Georgia will have a measurable impact on American energy security. It is humiliating for the US to watch the Russians thrash a prospective ally, but not harmful, for Georgia never should have been an ally in the first place.
Exactly so.

He also gets to the heart of why NATO's 1999 intervention in Kosovo was imbecility masquerading as moralistic strategy:
If it had not been for America's insistence on installing a gang of trigger-happy pimps and drug-pushers in Kosovo, Russia might have responded less ferociously to the flea bites on its southern border. Make no mistake: the American-sponsored Kosovo regime is the dirtiest anywhere in postwar history. Writing in the Spiegel magazine website last April 24 , Walter Mayr described Kosovo as "a country ruled by corruption and organized crime".... America's wag-the-dog war against Serbia in 1999 over alleged ethnic cleansing of Muslim Albanians in Kosovo won the undeserved support of Republicans as well as Democrats, to the extent that too many people on all sides of Washington politics risked their reputation to admit that the whole business was a stupid mistake. Washington has simply dug itself in deeper, joined at the hip to a government less savory than any banana republic dictatorship that enjoyed American favor at the depths of the Cold War.
He doesn't even bother to mention the other horrible precedent that the Kosovo intervention set, namely legitimating the idea of gunpoint "humanitarian interventions." Part of the way the Bush regime railroaded the country into Iraq was by claiming, not without justification, that anyone who had supported the moral case for intervening in Kosovo could only be a hypocrite if they failed to appreciate the moral case for intervention in Iraq.

But here's the key point, which Spengler gets, while most of the Western commentariat does not: just because one recognizes that a some horrible human situation endangers no vital interests and therefore intervention is a bad idea is not to somehow approve of or even turn away from the moral horrors. What the Russians are doing in Georgia is bad, perhaps even evil; so too is what Khartoum is doing in Darfur; or Uganda is doing in Eastern Congo. Likewise, the regimes in Zimbabwe, Burma, and many other places are doing awful things to their own peoples. But these are places where we have nothing at stake. These situations are horrible, but they are not our problem, and we do not have the resources to manage these problems.

In a similar vein, I recommend my friend Greg's post today on the inanities of the outrage corner of the commentariat.

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