Welcome Back to the 19th Century - Josef Joffe, Wall Street Journal
Wait a minute, isn't this the 21st? Chronologically, it is. But last Friday, Russia - like the mad scientist Emmett Brown in "Back to the Future" - thrust us backward by about 150 years in the Caucasus: into the age of imperialism and geopolitics, resource wars and spheres of influence. It was strictly 19th-century when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin casually announced that "war has started." In the old days, such pronunciamentos were routine; war, to recall Clausewitz, was just the "continuation of politics with the admixture of other means." (For the specifics, look up: the Crimean War, Prussia's conquest of Germany, the Balkan Wars; then go farther afield to the Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese wars.) But this is the 21st century, isn't it? At least in that vast swath extending from Berkeley to Berlin and to Beijing (with an outrigger in Moscow), anything "geo" could only refer to "economics." Welfare had replaced warfare. Tankers had replaced tanks, balance of payments the balance of power. At least in the Berlin-Berkeley Belt, all of us were playing win-win games, wheeling, dealing and consuming.