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Russia’s Depreciating Soft Power

This new comment piece in the FT, which argues that the West has got the wrong strategy on the Georgia issue, misses the point about the loss of Russia’s soft power. It will be difficult for Moscow to explain away the fact that their invasion of Georgia defies the non-intervention and sovereignty narrative that they have used so effectively in dealing with other emerging countries (such as Zimbabwe UN vote). What is different about the United States from Russia, and, for that matter, Singapore, is that its policies can change and even potentially improve. Autocracies on the other hand are far less capable of regeneration … just go ask Lukashenko. From Kishore Mahbubani in the Financial Times:

The biggest paradox facing the west is that it is at last possible to create a safer world order. The number of countries wanting to become “responsible stakeholders” has never been higher. Most, including China and India, want to work with the US and the west. But the absence of a long-term coherent western strategy towards the world and the inability to make geopolitical compromises are the biggest obstacles to a stable world order. Western leaders say the world is becoming a more dangerous place, yet few admit that their flawed thinking is bringing this about. Georgia illustrates the results of a lack of strategic thinking.