Sunday, March 23, 2014

Babes in the Multipolar Woods

Listening to US officials activists on Russia's conduct around the Black Sea is an exercise in depression. We have, on the one hand, the hawks, who want yet another open-ended intervention, on another the Putinists (who, astonishing to me, include several leftist sites and bloggers who really ought to know better), on yet a third the Ukrainianists, and on a fourth the European Union apologists.

What all of these have in common is a near-total disconnection from reality. These authors are flailing. What possible military response can the USA make? How can the EU respond without Russia freezing its own citizens? How can any military action be undertaken in Ukraine without jeopardizing the east-to-west flow of gas and oil?

As I foresaw, we are now again in a multipolar world, with regional superpowers and small states squeezed between them. No-one now alive has lived It has been 75 years since we lived in such a world. All the old wrong answers are being dragged out again. To not engage is to turn vast parts of the world over to tyranny. To engage as though each conflict has no wider implications is to be outmaneuvered. And there is something new, which the old multipolar world did not have: the threat of global environmental destruction. I fear a rebirth of Kissengerism, where lives by the hundreds of thousands and populations in the millions are spent for political purposes. I remember that the old multipolar world ended in global war and I hope that this one does not end in rising seas and mass starvation.

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