- May 17, 2004
- Sweden / France
If that is what YOU think...So "might is right", only "now primarily economic might is right". Doesn't sound like an ethical argument either.
Won't help when half the planet (economically too, mind) is in another group, which is the way things are going.
But rather, IF dealing with an adversary that thinks precisely in terms of only hard power, then yes, nothing except hard power will convince them of much of anything. (Am reminded of de Gaulle's speech to the French on July 18 1940 – to paraphrase him being very careful to insist France had not been defeated due to any moral inferiority, but simply been bowled over by a "greater mechanical force", the solution to which would be an even greater mechanical force to counter it. That's what Ukraine needs against Russia now, and if it gets it, Russia has slim prospects of repeating what it is doing, which is why it would simplify things endlessly.)
Any kind law-based, in its premises at least fair and equitable, international political system has to be first created, then maintained. It's like things like free trade, only more so, that doesn't just happen by itself. Which means if we are going to have a world that is based not just "the right of the grasping fist", then sufficient power to maintain it is necessary. And to the extent that such an order has enemies, they will also try to thwart and even end it. Which is also what we are looking at. If such a system isn't maintained and invested in, it fails eventually.
Then there might be small comforts in observations over time of how autocracy untempered by some actual justice has very poor survival prospects (the ancient Greek made that observation). But for the now we are probably in for a ride where hard power, nukes and what not, is the main currency of international politics. Frankly it depends a bit. If Russia gets away with what it wants to do in Ukraine, and sets that as a new precedent, then we are likely really in for it. Otoh China might still be on the fence about all this – since after 24 Feb things have shifted radically, and fast, in ways that are unlikely to have been to Beijing's actual liking. China is actually quite dependent on things like international trade working, and if that snags up, then things can become quite difficult for China rather fast. This shift was not expected. Will China carry or drop Russia in the end? It is clearly loathe to do either, but a decision might become necessary at some later point.