Friday, September 28, 2007

Two Quotes for the Day

Just posting two quotes from works written a few years back that are interesting for what they have to say about current events.

Authoritarian modernization for Russia? Robert D. Kaplan, back in 1993's Balkan Ghosts, wrote, "Whoever was to lead Russia out of chaos must be an Ataturk ..."

Measuring success for NATO in Kosovo? Misha Glenny concluded his 2000 work The Balkans with this note: "The NATO campaign can hardly claim either a moral or political victory if its sole achievement is the explusion of Milosevic's Serbia from Kosvoo. If the greatest military machine in history is unable to impose law and order in a small province, one cannot help wondering what the future holds ..."

Not Atta-Turk; Stolyptyn.
Be it Ataturk or Stolypin: Those outside Russia who obsessively denigrate the leader who takes that country out of chaos run the risk of incurring the enduring emnity not just of the country's leadership but of its people -- and of that section of the intelligentsia which matters politically.

All the more so if they whitewash -- indeed romanticise -- crooks who helped drag the country into chaos, benefited hugely from chaos, and are trying to return it to chaos.
Oh, we've already accomplished that David, in spades. We really do need to keep in mind that Putin is the most pro-Western of Russian politicians with any real standing.

Which means if we want decent deals on arms control and security, Putin is who we need to deal with, and now is the time to do it.

It won't get easier.
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