Hamlet without the Prince

In Crawford Texas today for a meeting about the Georgian crisis at George Bush’s home, here’s Condoleezza Rice yet again using an analogy of the Georgian situation with the USSR period —

Now, I think the behavior recently suggests that perhaps Russia has not taken that route [international integration], and either that they have not taken that route or that they would like to have it both ways — that is, that you behave in a 1968 way toward your small neighbors by invading them and, at the same time, you continue to integrate into the political and diplomatic and economic and security structures of the international community. And I think the fact is, you can’t have it both ways.

Perhaps odd here is the equation Russia=USSR and an associated absence of any role for Communism (as it was implemented) in explaining behaviour within the Soviet bloc. It’s an intellectual gap that might escape the notice of politicians but could draw fire from the sort of academic who had written articles with titles like “The Party, the Military, and Decision Authority in the Soviet Union”. And who might such an academic be? Well, an article with that title appeared in World Politics in 1987 under the authorship of a certain C. Rice. The lunacy of academic copyright restrictions makes it impossible to find out more about this intriguing thesis, which apparently is that the Communist party really matters for understanding military decisions from the USSR period. Hopefully a good Sovietologist is around to advise the White House of the problems with transposing that structure to the present situation.

9 thoughts on “Hamlet without the Prince

  1. man, am I getting sick of all the “righteous” MFs and all the bS that is flowing from the Western side, and especially US – it includes journalists, politicians, presidential candidates, its looks as if their sole purposes is to drown whatever facts there are to this conflict and its consequences in the stream multitude of anal-ogies, comparisons to the stone-age events, and all kinds of other verbal vomit to “bring to justice” one side(R-sia) and to ignore and justify the actions of the other(US and Suckershvilli)
    I tell you, people, Kosovo+Iraq, were the floodgates that US single-handedly opened, now stand tall and face the consequences of your actions, rather than blabing about what R-sia can and cannot do in the 21st century.

  2. Today, I was so upset watching Bush telling that territorial integrity of Georgia should be honored because Georgia is member of UN.

    I am not Iraqi, so I cannot speak in their name, but I can speak as a Serb. How US officials, journalists and pundits can keep straight face and tell that Georgia’s territorial integrity has to be protected because it is member of UN — was not Serbia UN member 6 months ago when they were recognizing Kosovo?

    They say that Russia has no right to destroy bridges, military installations, airports… In 1999, US destroyed hundreds of highway and railway bridges, tens of TV relay towers, power substations, etc. in Serbia — most of them much farther from immediate conflict zone (up to 300 km far from Kosovo), killing many civilians in process, all the time claiming that civilian objects were legitimate war targets.

    They say that Russia is breaking international law, when US never asked for UN resolution before going into war (Korea and, arguably, first Golf War were exception).

  3. There is an incredible amount of hypocrisy on both sides : Russia wants South Ossetia and Abkhazia to be independant (er – more like part of Russia) but doesn’t recognize Kosovo, and USA want Goergia’s territorial integrity to be respected, but not Serbia’s.

    We should stop listen both sides.

  4. I think you understate the hypocrisy. The west wants Kosovo independent but not the Bosnian Serb republic. Russia has no intention of granting independence to Chechnia.

    Think of it in terms of spheres of influence and things start making sense.

  5. Oliver;

    “The west wants Kosovo independent but not the Bosnian Serb republic.”

    And Serbia wants the Bosnian Serb republic independent or part of itself and doesn’t want Kosovo independent either.

  6. Sure. But at a risk of repeating myself, we look for a sensible foreign policy, not for a way to justify a bad policy with somebody else’s shortcomings.

    So we either find one that is consistent to everybody not just to somebody willing to take the western viewpoint and stop seeking ways to find one independence movement bad and the other good.

    Or we go the realist route and recognize that great powers have spheres of influence and stop making threats about Georgia.

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