Posted by: Marshall Sponder | August 15, 2008

The Russian-Georgia War in the Caucasus – what it means – Paul Krugman

Another Paul Krugman post – titled The Great Illusion – which sorta reminds me of one of the old Star Trek movies – where the history of the earl 21st Century was looked at and was full of brutal wars when it was thought war could or would no longer happen because it was economically unforeseeable – and yet it did.

I noticed that interest in the Olympics is now waning while attention is growing on the Georgia/Russian conflict – and I don’t pretend to really understand what all of that is about.  But then, in many cases, War is impossible to really understand – there’s as many reasons to prevent wars, more reasons, than to have them, and yet…  and yet… well, we still have wars.

Well, I don’t know what the Russian-Georgia War really represents – but I think we’re seeing a re-allignment of what’s considered important…   According to Paul Krugman

…. Consider how things have played out in the current food crisis. For years we were told that self-sufficiency was an outmoded concept, and that it was safe to rely on world markets for food supplies. But when the prices of wheat, rice and corn soared, Keynes’s “projects and politics” of “restrictions and exclusion” made a comeback: many governments rushed to protect domestic consumers by banning or limiting exports, leaving food-importing countries in dire straits.

And now comes “militarism and imperialism.” By itself, as I said, the war in Georgia isn’t that big a deal economically. But it does mark the end of the Pax Americana — the era in which the United States more or less maintained a monopoly on the use of military force. And that raises some real questions about the future of globalization.

Most obviously, Europe’s dependence on Russian energy, especially natural gas, now looks very dangerous — more dangerous, arguably, than its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. After all, Russia has already used gas as a weapon: in 2006, it cut off supplies to Ukraine amid a dispute over prices.

And if Russia is willing and able to use force to assert control over its self-declared sphere of influence, won’t others do the same? Just think about the global economic disruption that would follow if China — which is about to surpass the United States as the world’s largest manufacturing nation — were to forcibly assert its claim to Taiwan.

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  1. […] The Russian-Georgia War in the Caucasus – what it means – Paul Krugman […]


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