Friday, October 09, 2009

The War in Georgia and Europe

Ronald Asmus has an excellent piece in the New Republic, on the damage done to the EU by the War in Georgia. He writes:
"In August 2008, the system faltered. The war represented a clash between the core principle embodied in the Helsinki process, which granted countries the right to choose their own domestic and foreign policy courses--including alliances--and Moscow’s growing determination to create a sphere of privileged interest on its borders. As Foreign Minister Lavrov told Condi Rice at the height of the conflict, Russia’s goal was regime change and the removal of Saakashvili.

So we should have no illusions. The underlying conflict between Georgia and Russia has not been resolved. Tbilisi still wants to go West, and Moscow still wants to stop it. Having just returned from Georgia, I suspect some in the Kremlin wish they had finished off Saakashvili when they had the chance a year ago, since he seems as firmly in the sad dle as ever. The conflict is not over; it has only been postponed. And while the "peacekeeping" mechanisms on the ground today may be different--over 200 unarmed E.U. observers--they remain inadequate.

Ultimately, the most important questions left unanswered by the E.U. commission are these: Have we drawn the right lessons from the war? Are we any smarter or better positioned today, if we wish to prevent another conflict in Georgia? What about in nearby Ukraine, where trouble also seems to be brewing? These questions are essential, because if we do not learn from our mistakes, we have a recipe for another war--and perhaps another commission to determine why it happened

In related news, NATO held a talk recently concerning the future of the organization after Georgia. The entire event has been recorded, and can be found here. Well worth a listen.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

From Ethiopia, With Love

Living in a new city, along with having new roommates from around the globe, has broadened my musical tastes a spot since coming to Edinburgh. One of my fellow graduate students in the international politics program is an Ethiopian citizen, and while I had a decent understanding of Ethiopia’s contribution to the world’s music collective, he has turned me on to some excellent musicians from the country I had never heard before.

Chief among them has been Afewerq Yohannes and Girma Hadgo. Here is an excellent track that can be found on the Ethiopian Urban Modern Music compilation.

"This is What a Communist Party Looks Like!"

One last bit from the UCSC Occupation that quickly faded out.

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If that is the case, then socialism is truly dead.

Monday, October 05, 2009