Fukuyama's Prescience

by Robert Wright

Today is the one-week anniversary of the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war, and newspapers are commemorating the event by reporting on new American plans to annoy Russia.

I won’t get into the question of whether America could have prevented that war by being more attentive to Russian concerns on things like missile defense, Kosovan independence, and NATO expansion. But I do think it’s safe to say that, prior to the war, there was little public discussion of the possible downside of ignoring Russia’s concerns. If you agree that vigorous debate of vital issues is good, then, regardless of your position on America’s Russia policy, you’ll probably agree that people who tried to raise questions about it back when nobody was paying attention should get a pat on the back.

So let’s rewind the videotape and watch Francis Fukuyamain July of 2008, before the war--call attention to the possible costs of not compromising with Russia on issues it cared about. Note his observation that Russia was “turn[ing] up the pressure in Georgia” in response to American policy.

No doubt Frank will be rewarded for his prescience by being catapulted to the highest echelons of American power, somewhat as opponents of the Iraq War were rewarded with such positions as Secretary of State and special envoy to AfPak and... Oh, wait.