Friday, August 15, 2008


What do these invasions teach us about the state of our geopolitical system?

When the US invaded Iraq, it certainly contravened international legal norms that provided for aggression only when an enemy presented an immediate threat. This is a norm that the US helped to enshrine in the post-World War II legal order. We have witnessed, since the fall of the Soviet Union, a strengthening of the social and economic order promulgated by, and beneficial to, the US: democracy and free markets. The process of the US invasion of Iraq and its aftermath involves a negation of the legal order of the era of Pax Americana but an affirmation of the era’s social and economic order. In short, the US undermined the international legal system while strengthening the international social system.

Russia’s invasion of Georgia, however, represents a challenge both to the international legal order and to the socioeconomic order of US-led globalization. In Iraq, we ultimately seem to be witnessing the triumph of the liberal economic and political order. The ability, or inability, of that socioeconomic order to prevail in Georgia is of great symbolic significance over the next few years.

The US invasion of Iraq was, if you will, a wager in which the socioeconomic order of international democracy was chosen over the international norm of national sovereignty. It is not surprising that US disregard for the latter is costing us right now. Still, we would be foolish to be entranced by that fact and to overlook the greater stakes that underpinned the initial wager. The pace of the march of political and economic freedom around the world is at stake.


International aggression and ethnic separatism are important elements of this crisis but they do not lend it its singularity. Russia, an important global power, is announcing its refusal to align itself to a US-led global system that tends to support economic and political freedom.

Paul Krugman
explains (though perhaps a bit too defnitively for my tastes):

[T]he war in Georgia [marks] the end of the Pax Americana — the era in which the United States more or less maintained a monopoly on the use of military force. And that raises some real questions about the future of globalization.

Some have asked, “Didn’t the American-created global order suffer a greater defeat with the invasion of Iraq?” or “How is the Russian support of South Ossetian independence different from the US support of Kosovar independence?”

The US invasion of Iraq does have consequences for the stability of the international system. It does make it harder for the US to assert the importance of respecting national sovereignty. But, it did not alter the fundamental fact that the US economy, society, and culture tend to see their interests aligned with politically and economically free societies ruled by law. No one is surprised that, following the increasing democratic stability in Iraq, the US is getting ready to leave. No one is surprised that the US is helping to support a free society in Kosovo. Russia cannot be expected to act similarly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Here are McCain and Obama's statements on Georgia.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


This is my most extensive political theory work to date. It may be a bit rough around the edges but I hope that you will find it interesting. I am hoping that it will impress but even more so, that you will be inspired to offer me criticism and guidance.

From Pete Wehner:

What we are witnessing unfold in Iraq will one day be written about in history books, and not just military history books. To have taken a situation critics said was a mistake of historic proportions–the worst foreign policy debacle since the founding of the Republic–and to transform it into a victory, which is what is well under way, is among the more dramatic and important moments in American history. These have been exhausting years for our nation, ones during which tremendous errors in judgment were made. But they have been memorable and proud ones as well. And now, we can say with increasing confidence, they have been successful ones.

I supported the war and was hesitant and nervous about the surge. I respect the position of war opponents. Still, are there any such opponents out there who will celebrate these salutary developments in Iraq?
"Obama, the postmodernist"

by Jonah Goldberg

I don't entirely agree with the tone and the perspective but I think that the main thrust of the argument is quite correct and is worth consideration before you cast your vote. Any postmodernists out there who care to offer their two cents?