Friday, March 25, 2016

Does the Emerging China-Russia Axis Signal the Return of Geopolitics?

The second part of the title that The Brookings Institution gave to this talk, "The Return of Geopolitics?," suggests the view that certain mindless forces that once drove international relations recently gave way to a system of rules (as Thomas Wright put it early on) that facilitate open negotiation among more-or-less equal partners.

These rules may appear fair to those of us whose sympathies lie with the putatively liberal and democratic western powers that prevailed in the struggles of the 20th century. But to people whose allegiances and sense of trust point elsewhere, they remain rules written by others. And to put it mildly, they aren't necessarily just.

This fact is omitted too often in expert discussions about the behavior of leading officials, especially when audiences are asked to pass judgment. If the panelists recognize it, they could have made it clearer in their presentations.

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