August 11, 2008 9:06
The details of who did what to precipitate Russia's war against Georgia are not very important. Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia? Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.
The events of the past week will be remembered that way, too.
...the author has got to be a neoconservative pushing for the next war. In this case, it's Robert Kagan, girding for a new twilight struggle with the Sovi...uh, sorry: that was a couple of twilight struggles ago...Russia. Kagan is smart and modulated in this case. He carefully lays out the U.S. and European Union initiatives in Eastern Europe that have led to the Russian pushback. Most of the western actions have been morally justified support for the new democracies--and Georgia may be the most heart-warming example--in the region; others, including the costly and technologically untenable missile defense system fantasized by Bush, have been unnecessarily provocative. And Kagan's (right)wingman, Bill Kristol, is similarly modulated in the NY Times:
The good news is that today we don’t face threats of the magnitude of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Each of those regimes combined ruthless internal control, a willingness to engage in external aggression, and fervent adherence to an extreme ideology. Today these elements don’t coexist in one place. Russia is aggressive, China despotic and Iran messianic — but none is as dangerous as the 20th-century totalitarian states.