Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So I showed it to the doctor and he took one look and he said, it's all got to come out he said...

Dan Drezner thinks we should boot the Russians out of the G-8.

He's a lot smarter than me on this sort of thing and I don't want to put myself in the inevitable John Laughland-led camp that'll blame it all on the US and claim everything is peachy all that jazz but I'm honestly not sure what giving them the shove would really achieve and I'm not as sanguine as Dan regarding the possible costs.

So they took it all away and they put a bag in, but it doesn't seal very well you see...

Now my period of being sympatico with the Rooshians ended when they shot the Tsar but it does seem to me that letting them in was one of those things that you don't undo lightly.

  • First off, will anyone but America agree to it? The Germans almost certainly wouldn't and I can't see the French or even probably Her Majesty's Government being particularly mad for it either.
  • Having been comprehensively splattered in the Cold War and having seen its spheres of influence in both Eastern Europe and the Middle East wither away like an eskimo nudist's unmentionables, the Russians seem to have a chip on their shoulders regarding national greatness that makes your average Gaullist seem well-adjusted. Far from putting serious pressure on Putin to permit domestic reform, it seems to me just as likely that moving against Russia in the G-8 field would actually cause the Russian public at large to rally behind the government.
  • There is at least an argument that we need the Russians to be nice to us in the fields of anti-terrorism, non-proliferation and energy security just as much as they need us to pat them on the back.
Maybe I'm wrong. It's at least arguable that it wouldn't be a disaster - and the above points are hardly conclusive - but it's a bit move to make and I'm really not sure what the payoff would be. At the very least I'm surprised to see Dan setting out his stall on the issue as though it's a no-brainer. But then maybe it is a no-brainer and I just don't get it..


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