Sunday, March 23, 2003

Should we or Shouldn't we?

This is a recap of the last few days since I began my Spring Break.

No one should have believed that this war would be totally easy and not without its quirks. For example, an article in the Washingon Post that both many-armed Sean-Paul and Hesiod are linking to says that the Russians (along with the French, but we don't need to pick the scab on that wound) have been aiding the Iraqi's and they sold them, among other things, anti-tank missiles and night vision goggles, in clear violation of the UN Sanctions.

I suspect, because the article indicated Russian surprise, that Putin is not as in control of his military as the world suspects.

This of course, has incited rage among people in the United States, among them, the Bush Administration. And rightly so, because I would be angry too, and as Hesiod speculates, this could be construed as an act of war.

Our buddy Dima over at Overspill, and I'm sure others (Den Beste, in probably another 15,000 word treatise) are too, believe that we should isolate Russia, and France (yes, let's pick at that scab again) from trading with the US, the Middle East's oil nozzle should be shut to them, and we should shut them out completly from the post-war construction of Iraq.

I could not disagree more.

I don't think that isolating France and Russia would help our current strained relations with those two never know what's coming 5, 10 years down the road and we may very well need them. As my momma always says: Short-term solutions do not solve long-term problems.

Let's also be realistic. Even though France is often the butt of jokes, the French military is the 6th largest military in the world. France is also well-known for its rampages through West Africa. France spends nearly 2.7% of its gross domestic product (compared with the US 3.1%) on its military force and France also has nuclear weapons. Russia, while probably considerably weaker than it was 12 years ago, still has a formidable military force. Russia still has enough nuclear weapons to vaporize North America in such a way that life would never evolve there again. They also have a problem with accounting for those bombs and they've had a habit of "losing" weapons. Ever heard that joke about the Russian Surplus Military Catalouge? What happens if it's real. Now, do we really want to piss these people off, and run the risk of starting another bipolar political system (in this case, it'd probably be tri-polar) that my parents and everyone their age suffered through during the Cold War?

The post-war aftermath is not going to be easy on all of us. I say, after this war is over, diplomatically sanction both Russia and France and move on, if you're still pissed off. But don't shut them out of the democratization of the Middle East, cause you never know what darkness lurks in the shadows. Don't isolate them from trade. And for the sake of all that's sane and holy, don't cut them off from oil! Unless of course, endless war is the goal.

We ought to focus at the task at hand: Finish with Iraq and make it a democracy. I sure hope that cooler heads prevail in the end.

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