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Ames vs. Hitchens



  1. Chris says:

    I still think there is an element of “because we say so” to it all. There is a problem with equivalence, but Ames is right to cite ‘the rules’ that each played under.

    American decline? I’m not sure its colossal, but even in here we’ve all been going on about how the world has moved from unipolar (US) to multi-polar (up and comers, rising to our declining level).

    Actually, I think that even Hitchens acknowledges the legit irredentism in S. Ossetia, and in that sense I think that Russian and Ossetian interests are lined up. I wouldn’t say the same for Abkhazia because they’re somewhat unique territorially and aren’t experiencing irredentism for the lands of their brothers to the north.

    I don’t read Ames as apologizing at all. I see his acknowleding the US role while simultaneously saying that the Russians far overplayed their hands.

    You seem overly angry with Ames because of the venue actually…I know The Nation gets the bile rising with many people, but I am still where I was. I don’t think Ames’ and Hitchens’ articles are mutually exclusive or are accurately framed (in their entirety) as ‘point’ v. ‘counterpoint’.

    Even without Ames’ comparison, we’ve already spoken about how Kosovo pissed the Russians off. Who cares if the comparison is accurate if the Russians’ invasion is contemporary history? And how are Russian and South Ossetian interests not in line?

    I get your points, but I disagree with your overall evaluation of Ames. hehe Not that this matters.

  2. Vincent says:

    Well, when the linchpin of Ames’ article rests on the premise that the chief differences between Kosovo on one hand and South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other coming down to “because we say so”, I think Hitchens’ deconstruction of any sort of equivalence between the two cases serves as a pretty obvious counterpoint to whatever swamp-fever point Ames was attempting to make.

    For good measure, he throws in a few bits of hyperbole about “colossal American decline”, almost rote recital of the Socialist Unity position on the affiar, and a self-serving conflation of Russian and South Ossetian interests.

    Pretty much par-for-the-course for The Nation these days, but hardly insightful. The fact that the United States supported Georgia in the first place seems for Ames reason enough to apologize for Russia.

  3. Chris says:

    Seems more like valid points and valid points…in both articles.

    Hitchens is right about Russia, Ames describes the ebb and flow of support for Georgia’s Saak, and you get a good picture of the overall via both articles. So, I’m not sure they’re making points that counter each other.

    I’ve said it before, but I think the most interesting case by far is the case of the Abkhaz given that they won militarily and have played by ‘the rules’ in every way while aligning with Russia out of convenience to counter Georgian designs on their land. S. Ossetia’s irredentism is a valid but altogether different situation. At least they briefly enjoyed independence at the turn of the 20th century, unlike the Abkhaz (unless you count as a part of Georgia when they too were briefly independent).

    For my money, the Abkhaz have a legitimate case to not be a part of Russia or Georgia and in fact to be their own entity. I kind of see them like Iraq’s Kurds. They can militarily challenge the establishment of the state they’re in, they’ve beat them before and they have the internal momentum behind a movement toward independence (via referendums and such)….and they take advantage of the security provided to them by the local superpower to organize and strengthen their institutions, etc.

    Anyway, thanks for posting those.

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