While a lot of chaos strikes the Old Core (Europe, the United States, and Japan) as an optional problem of discipline, it hits the New Core (Eastern Europe, China, India, and so on) as a mandatory problem of survival. In our rich and developed economies, the marginal price of energy can cause a great deal of political pain while not being enough to cause a true recession (even when coupled with the subprime-mortgage mess!). However, for new countries that need cheap energy to rapidly expand their economy, chaos is dangerous.
Russia’s invasion of Georgia increased that chaos. It was an attempt by a resource-extracting gap state to strike at the New Core. It attempts to drive Europe away from the New Core states of Eastern Europe, and attempts to drive the China’s energy suppliers away from her. By increasing political tensions and threatening states that deliver energy directly to the New Core, Russia is harming globalizaton and threatening the fates of Eastern Europe, China, India, and other New Core regions.
Of course, this is no new “Cold War.” The Soviet Empire long since declared bankruptcy, and Putin destroyed the soft power that Russia once enjoyed. Russia combines the military ferocity of North Korea with the economy swagger of Portugal. The threat Russia poses to the New Core is real, and should not be underestimated. But at the same time, it is only an annoyance to us, meaning that we can fight back against Russia without putting globalization at risk.
Unless you want to lose India, China, and other New Core states to the 19th century world of great power politics, it is vital that America works to save the peace and roll back Russia’s policy of using war as a tool of diplomacy.
Anything else is just old thinking.
4 thoughts on “Russia v. the New Core”
Question: DO you see Brazil as new-Core or as Gap? I am thinking new-Core.
BTW,I have been finding you recent series related to Russia to be very interesting. Lack of internet access has prevented me from posting too much (it is a slow day at work today).
I think Russia is a large “gap” nation now (even if it once was new-Core) exporting in-security (meddling in the middle east and Eastern Europe).
Nuclear Weapons don’t make a state a Core state. Exporting in-security, having a resource based economy, and opposing the new global rules-sets does.
Characterizing them as an aggressive Portugal with nukes puts into perspective the size of the threat and that it is no a Soviet Union reborn.
The question is what should US strategy be? I don’t know. Goals shoudl be something like:
1) Moving the default stance of Russia toward the US from Adversary back to Neutral.
2) Getting core-sates Japan, China and India to take a bigger role in dealing with this Asian gap state.
3) Getting the NATO and the EU off their ass to be the lead in protecting new-core Eastern Europe. I like SDBs suggestion: Move NATO HQ to Poland as a signal.
4) Rush the entry of eastern European countries into institutions like NATO, WTO etc.
Ok,this is turning into a post. I have to write my post on this “Russian vs. Georgia and Russia vs. The Core: Lesson Learned and Next Actions”
Thanks for the kind words!
Brazil is clearly New Core.
With a population more than 50 million more than Russ (and that Gap is growing), Brazil is a stable democracy with GDP comparable to Russia’s, but with economic growth centering on productive enterprises, instead of resource extraction.
Brazil is one of the functioning states that have come “on-line” in the past decades that need to be embedded in the Core’s web of rulesets. A resumption of interstate war as a form of diplomacy hurts Brazil, as it would hurt China, Ukraine, India, or other New Core States.
I agree completely.
I fear I’ve been exagerating Russia’s strength — as “clob” hinted , Russia’s GDP  is more comparable to Brazil  than Portugal .
I apologize for “hyping” the Russian threat!
1) agreed, though teaching the correct lessons  is a valuable goal
2) agreed, this may be best done through the useful lie of global warming hype — reality makes strange bedfollows! 
3) Why not Warsaw? 🙂