11 May 2014

Foreign Policy: “How Putin Is Reinventing Warfare”

War: good for few, bad for most
This is a world where the old geo-political paradigms no longer hold. As the Kremlin faces down the West, it is indeed gambling that old alliances like the EU and NATO mean less in the 21st century than the new commercial ties it has established with nominally “Western” companies, such as BP, Exxon, Mercedes, and BASF. Meanwhile, many Western countries welcome corrupt financial flows from the post-Soviet space; it is part of their economic models, and not one many want disturbed. So far, the Kremlin’s gamble seems to be paying off, with financial considerations helping to curb sanctions. Part of the rationale for fast-tracking Russia’s inclusion into the global economy was that interconnection would be a check on aggression. But the Kremlin has figured out that this can be flipped: Interconnection also means that Russia can get away with aggression. Peter Pomerantsev

The new cold war is exploiting globalization, the very thing that should have prevented further conflicts.

A similar line of thinking can be applied to possible conflicts between China and the U.S. over Taiwan:

We say explicitly, in Red Star over the Pacific and many other forums, that such a conflict is possible. US-China economic ties elevate the costs of armed conflict for both belligerents, but can’t rule it out entirely. Other interests supersede economics at times. Conducting strikes on the Chinese mainland could carry vast economic and political consequences for the United States. Knowing this—and knowing that Washington knows it—Beijing can hope to deter the United States from coming to the island’s defence. Should a conflict come to pass, Chinese leaders hope Washington will stand aside for the sake of national self-interest. James R. Holmes

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