Without emotion, without outrage or trembling, without rage or a sense of justice, I want to consider the following question:
Is ending war as we have known it worth the price of Portugal?
Or, to put it more bluntly, in terms that may make your heart race and your forehead sweat blood:
Is Portugal falling off the map an acceptable price to pay for world peace.
I assume you have stopped laughing.
But the Portuguese are real people, too. There are some serious prices that may have to be paid — on their end
Is the end of wars as we have known them worth the economic dislocation of no longer accepting Portuguese raw materials?
Is the end of wars as we have known them worth visa restrictions on the free movement of overseas Portuguese?
Is the end of wars as we have known them worth a couple of al Qaeda strikes on Lisbon?
In these questions, we see the human cost. We recognize that the Portugue share our basic humanity, we understand how expensive education can be, and we curse this fallen world.
OK, one more:
Is the end of war as we have known it worth a Cold War with Portugal?
I guess you are laughing again.
This is the dilemma we face in responding to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, it’s resumption of war as a means of diplomacy. Moscow — that gap capital temporarily on par with Lisbon due to high oil prices — must be stopped. Not because it is Russia — though Russia certainly is an inherently destabilizing country –nor because it invaded a Core country — though Georgia but not Russia is in the WTO — but because it uses war as a method of diplomacy.
When people try to scare with you a new “Cold War,” they are stuck in the past. Portugal is not able to engage is in a cold war. Neither is Russia, because Russia is as weak as Portugal.
Rather, Russia’s invasion of Georgia is another case of a Gap state invading a Core one. Core states generate wealth. Gap states take it. Russia is behaving like so many other Gap states.