Russia Making Its Move?
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  • “It remains the case that many of Russia’s interests in Central Asia largely parallel ours. That is, neither we nor they want to see China replace the USSR as the arbiter of Central Asia. Closer ties between Russia and Kazakhstan may actually benefit US interests.”

    No argument there. Nor even with your point that

    “Russia is an expansionist power that consciously seeks to weaken the US wherever it can gain an advantage. It has a vision for its region and indeed the world that is counter to core US interests and values. We cannot look for it to become a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in an American-led world order anytime soon.”

    On the other hand, isn’t that also a not unfair description of our Red Chinese partners and bosom (or is it pocketbook) allies? Now mind you, I do sense there’s a tradition in US foreign policy that regards the (supposed) yawning chasm between China and Russia as a difference of high culture vs barbarism (putting it in my usual crude fashion). And culture’s always better than barbarism, no? But is it always less treacherous and more trustworthy?

    Now might be a good time to remind ourselves of how highly-cultured (and EXTREMELY high-achieving) were the Germans of the first third of the 20th century. Yet as I recall somewhere, that didn’t mean they were above committing a few, often highly inventive and innovative, barbarities of their own. Or was it perhaps a matter of them being SO far above the rest of us – or we so far beneath them – that what might otherwise have been barbarity, or even atrocity, was merely the collateral damage involved in the advance of a superior civilization? (South-West Africa, anyone?)

    No doubt I’m being hyper-alarmist (wouldn’t be the first time). But it seems to me we’ve been up this road before.

  • Luke Lea

    “It remains the case that many of Russia’s interests in Central Asia largely parallel ours.” So we might go to war with China in defense of Siberia?

    After our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and before that Vietnam, I’ve grown suspicious of the idea of “an American-led world order.” Turns out there really is such a thing as “the West. ” We are different, and not just in our culture but in our genes.

    One of the big stories coming out of science in the past dozen years is the way cultures are influenced by patterns of consanguineous marriage. It took 500 years (25 generations!) of out-breeding enforced by the Catholic Church doctrine to develop a culture based on the rights and responsibilities of the individual, as opposed to the family and clan. And of course these rights and responsibilities form the bedrock of Western civilization.

    Hbd* chick — whoever she is — covers this story well. Her takeaway is fairly straightforward: Kin selection is a major force shaping world history — one that we ignore at our peril. (See here and here.) Facts are stubborn things as Reagan famously said. He might have added that realism is the first desideratum of a morally responsible foreign policy in this world.

    At any event this is the big lesson I’ve been learning of late. What does Mead think?

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