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.