2015/02/14

Excessive expectations

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Back in 2009 I described Extremist Warfare, the pursuit of maximalist, eliminationist objectives in war as if this was self-evident, normal or even the only way to wage war.

I suppose the conflict in the Ukraine has shown that this attitude problem goes much farther.
It seems to be a common attitude in the Western World to expect the whole world to follow the rule set defined (or made-up on the fly) by the Western world, even though Western great powers don't follow it themselves.

There was little reason to expect Russia to be a perfectly peaceful, cordial, cooperative great power in a world in which the Western great powers don't meet that standard themselves. Even Germany and Italy bombed Yugoslavia based almost exclusively on largely fabricated allegations. The US and UK violate their obligations to settle disputes peacefully and without threat* routinely and France comes close to this at least in Africa.

The expectation that Russia would be peaceful and the exasperation about the fact it isn't are simply tell-tale signs of a world view of excessive expectations. One could call this world view arrogant or naive.


I'm not sure that this world view would have been incorrect if the hypocrisy wasn't nearly as stark. Let's assume the West did not threat, have cruise missile diplomacy,  bomb countries, invade countries, operate assassination drones or occupy Afghanistan with maximalist objectives. The world - not just the hypocrites in the West - might by now (a generation after the Cold War) consider peaceful dealing with way to deal with disputes - without exceptions. Russia would not only have expected to appal the Western hypocrites, but the whole world with its actions in the Ukraine, and Russia's 1994 non-aggression treaty with the Ukraine would enjoy much more respect since international law would enjoy much more respect. Russia would probably have chosen a less appalling course of action to avoid the greater international opposition.

That's not what happened, for neocons and less extreme yet similar-minded people were arrogant enough to believe they could get away with their offences without backlash. Just as the equally mature four year old boys in the Kindergarten didn't learn yet that throwing sand at others has some kind of backlash.

Will they ever learn? Certainly not. They cannot properly connect the dots between action and reaction - children fully understand this by the age of about six only. Some people never progress that far.

S O

*: Charter of the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty
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