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Thursday, December 20, 20071198195200

The Rise of Europe

Two stories, two maps.


To the Borders of Russia


The first: the European visa-free zone increased, incorporating many of the new EU members. Germany and Austria no longer have guarded frontiers, formerly having checkpoints on the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Slovene borders. Russia now borders the four members of the visa-free zone: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (in addition to Finland and Norway).


Europe and the West Balkans


The second is the continued dismemberment of the Russian client state, Serbia, at the hands of Brussells (and Washington, and Berlin, and...). When Kosovo declares independence, which is already a few months overdue, Serbia will find itself surrounded by eight countries -- three of whom are already in the EU, another (Croatia) which will probably be the next EU member, and the rest looking for eventual EU integration.

Relatedly: Vladimir Putin, who has been invaluable in accelerating Europe's rise, is Time's Man of the Year.

18:00 Posted in Europe | Permalink | Comments (9) | Tags: kosovo, eu, russia, putin, maps

Comments

I wonder what the consequences of the second will be? The Schengen zone expansion has already put Kaliningrad within the EU's borders, what kind of leverage does Russia get if Serbia decides to turn its back on the EU altogether and become a full-blown client state of Russia?

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Germany and Austria no longer have guarded frontiers" Hasn't that been true since 1938?

What is the point of an independent Kosovo? Is the world really going to be better off if the Albanian mafia has its own country? My modest proposal would be to work out a face saving deal with Putin where he can base a couple of divisions of Russian "peace keepers" in Kosovo in exchange for giving his blessing to building antimissile systems in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania.

Posted by: Mark in Texas | Thursday, December 20, 2007

I think mine from another blog was for all the foreign (to the Kosovars and Serbians, that is) powers involved with the issue to sit down and come up with their own compromise. If neither Serb nor Albania likes the result, all the better; that'll teach them to solve their own problems.

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Michael,

"what kind of leverage does Russia get if Serbia decides to turn its back on the EU altogether and become a full-blown client state of Russia?"

We saw that strategy throughout the 1990s, except then Moscow and Belgrade were more powerful and Europe was smaller.

"If neither Serb nor Albania likes the result, all the better; that'll teach them to solve their own problems."

They did, and they are. Serbia attempted an ethnic cleansing of the Kosovars. It didn't work. The Kosovars are attempting an ethnic cleansing of the Serbs. It is working.

Mark in Texas

"What is the point of an independent Kosovo?"

Real nation-states have a better track record than fake ones [1].

"Is the world really going to be better off if the Albanian mafia has its own country"

... than if the Serbs managed that country? Yes.

"My modest proposal would be to work out a face saving deal with Putin where he can base a couple of divisions of Russian "peace keepers" in Kosovo in exchange for giving his blessing to building antimissile systems in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania."

Why would we want to save Putin's face, and for that matter encourage the deployment of Russia's military anywhere?

[1] http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/1507

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, December 21, 2007

"Why would we want to save Putin's face, and for that matter encourage the deployment of Russia's military anywhere?"

Because when people and countries are humiliated too far, they often do things that are not really in anybody's interest and often things that are irrationally self destructive. One example is the dismaying tendency among inner city youths to commit honor related killings because of some real or imagined slight.

Another geopolitical example comes from diplomatic relations in the early years of the 20th century. I don't remember all the details, but there was a controversy in which the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia were both seeking concessions from the Turks. The Austrians were able to achieve their objective by betraying the Russians desire to allow their ships free transit of the Dardanelles from the Black Sea. A famous quote from the Austrian foreign minister when questioned about this betrayal was "We will astonish the world with our ingratitude". A few years later, Austria was preparing to launch a military reprisal against Serbia for the state supported terror operation that assassinated the Heir to the Austrian throne in Sarejevo. Because of the previous humiliation, Russia would not back down from its threat to defend Serbia from Austrian military force. Russia mobilized. Germany mobilized. France mobilized. The lights went out all over Europe. Without the previous humiliation of the Russians, it probably would have happened differently.

The last few decades have seen Russia get humiliated pretty regularly. Their current policy of selling nuclear material to Iran strikes me as the sort of thing that is not in their best interests but that they are doing from wounded pride.

Also having a couple of divisions of Russian troops near the Adriatic might serve as a wake up call to our moral superiors in western Europe that the United States is not the most dangerous threat that they face in the world. And we would have a bunch of antimissile systems in eastern Europe.

Posted by: Mark in Texas | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mark in Texas,

Thank you for your comment.

Honor-related violence in general is caused by a cultural lack of trust in the police. If the state's police power cannot be trusted to deter and punish crime, then such responsibility falls to the down to lower levels of society (the individual, or the family). This is one reason why groups in the US with historically corrupt and inept police forces (southern whites and african-americans, say) have a much higher murder rate among friends than others. I think honor-killing of females falls into this same category.

Vioelence is not irrational: it's a rational response to anarchy.

So: how to prevent "honor killings" by nations? How to reduce international anarchy, especially with respect to eastern Europe?

At first glance, the answer for them is the same as everyone else: submit them to the police powers of the international community. This means making them unable to use violence, either because they are in a "golden straightjacket" (peace has too many rewards) or they are unable to use violence (they become too weak).

The expansion of the European Union accomplishes both of these goals for the states for potentially every European state, tying them into an "every closer" economic-political-monetary union that increases the wealth of its members while transforming their internal character such that independent action becomes less and less possible.

Of course, this leaves the problem of Russia. She would not easily become a well behaved member of the EU, and she rightly sees the suprior exports of the EU (the political, economic, monetary rulesets Brussells exports) to be superior to her substitutes. So Moscow can be expected to react negatively to this loss of market share.

If Russia was a well-run country, this would be a serious problem. Fortunately, she's not, so it's not. For the past 60 years, the consistent strategy of Moscow has been to sell off what she has (first land, now land and technological capital) in exchange for cash. Russia's a country that habitually eats her own seed corn. All we need to do is to continue this long-term trade: keep chipping away at Russia's power, feed her cash as necessary, and the inexorable tides of history do the rest.

By the time that Russia's a majority-muslim state and the "Ode to Joy" (Europe's national anthem) plays in Kiev, Russia will merely be a somewhat larger version of Kazakhstan.

And that's a future worth creating.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I think it`s a bad ideea to treat Russia as an enemy and i think they have a future by joining the EU.The yanks are thinking of making NAU - Nord American Union (US,Canada and Mexico) to counter the EU and mother Russia will he between 2 superpowers and 1 rising power (China) they will have to chose their side in NAU they will be bossed around by the yanks the same will hapen with China but in EU no country can give orders to other country so the EU must be friendly with Russia.With the antirocket shield the yanks want to make the EU argue with Russia.Czech Republic and Poland want to show the fist to Russia but they don`t have anything to win from this.Germany`s good relationship with Russia will give to Europe in general acces to Russia`s resorces.

Posted by: Florin from EU(Romania) | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Maybe by the time a majority Muslim state inherits Russia's legacy stockpile of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, we will have several examples of successful majority Muslim nations integrated into the Core. I sure hope so.

From what I have read, violent honor based societies have traditionally developed in places that had transportable wealth, like livestock, and inadequate policing. That was the situation in Scotland at least as far back as the early modern era. The attitudes persisted in the New World even though the economic justification for them no longer existed.

According to this author [1] dueling was pretty common in the early days of the United States. It was common enough that the Vice President killed the Secretary of the Treasury in a duel. Laws were passed against dueling but juries who accepted the justification of honor based killing refused to convict. Laws were then passed requiring that public officials sign an oath swearing that they had not fought in a duel after some fixed date. The result was that perceived insults did not result in formal duels but in instant mayhem on the spot. The legislatures then passed laws against carrying concealed weapons, but juries still refused to convict in cases of honor related killing.

The thing that finally led to a decrease in honor based fighting was a religious revival that changed the priority of most white southerners from earthly honor to heavenly virtue.

I have no idea how that kind of change could work with Russia. On the other hand, for now as long as they stir up trouble in oil producing countries, the Russians reap strong economic benefits from risk based higher oil prices.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Concealed-Weapon-Laws-Early-Republic/dp/0275966151/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198717825&sr=1-4

Posted by: Mark in Texas | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Maybe by the time a majority Muslim state inherits Russia's legacy stockpile of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, we will have several examples of successful majority Muslim nations integrated into the Core. I sure hope so."

Hopefully. Unfortunately, those areas with the best shot (Albania, Kosovo, Malaysia, Indonesia, are not geographically contiguous to the rest of the Muslim world. Russia, unfortunately, is.

(Still, Kazakhstan is not Pakistan, and such a fate for Russia would not be all bad, if hardly all good.)

"From what I have read, violent honor based societies have traditionally developed in places that had transportable wealth, like livestock, and inadequate policing...."

I agree with this section, so I'll jump to the end of it:

"...
The thing that finally led to a decrease in honor based fighting was a religious revival that changed the priority of most white southerners from earthly honor to heavenly virtue. "

This may explain a decrease in favorable cognitive attitudes toward violence, but I doubt it explains much of the drop in violence... because there hasn't been one:

"Southerners do not approve of violence in the abstract, only of violence provoked by an insult or trespass. African American inner-city neighborhoods are among the more conspicuously violent environments in Western democracies, and they too have an entrenched culture of honor... Were it not for giveaways in their dialect... Anderson's description fo the code wouldbe indistuinghable from accounts of the culture of honor among white Southerners."(Pinker 328) [1,2]

"On the other hand, for now as long as they stir up trouble in oil producing countries, the Russians reap strong economic benefits from risk based higher oil prices."

Agreed, a hundred times over.

Russia's structurally a beneficiary of instability. All the more reason to hobble her, reduce her, weaken her.

Florin,

My assumption is that those most in favor of a North American community are also those most in favor of the European Union.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/07/05/last-thoughts-on-pinker.html
[2] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0670031518?v=glance

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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