A few years ago, threatening to freeze dodgy Russian companies out of the developed world’s capital markets would have been a real threat. Now, if they find London, New York, and Frankfurt unwelcoming, they can turn to the exchanges in Dubai, Mumbai and Shanghai. ~Edward Lucas
Well, yes, that’s true. This is what comes from globalization. It means that there are many more centers of wealth and power than there used to be, which reduces the leverage of any one center or group of centers over weaker or poorer states. This is why promoting globalization and hegemony makes no sense–the former steadily undermines the latter. As wealth and power are more widely distributed, the absolute advantage that advanced industrial democracies possess has been sharply reduced. This is not to celebrate or lament this development, which the cheerleaders of global free trade and neoliberalism have done more to bring about than most others in the West. It is an odd time to start complaining about the rise of other economic and political powers when this is what globalization ultimately had to mean.
Lucas says later:
The Kremlin’s message to Europe is cold and confident: you need us more than we need you.
This is an exaggeration, but there is some truth to it. An exporter of natural resources needs markets, and to the extent that its economy is heavily dependent on revenues from one or two exports it is vulnerable to market fluctuations more than the consumers, but when it comes to something as basic as energy the consumers cannot easily do without the exporter nation that provides so many of their supplies. Russia wants and needs foreign investment, but Europeans will need oil and gas more.
Lucas’ most unpersuasive and strained claim:
The key to the West’s future security is the security of the Baltic states.
Yes, how did the West survive almost three hundred years of Russian control of the Baltics? This is like saying that Russia’s future security is the security of Greenland. It is pretty much a crazy thing to say.
Lucas goes on:
So what does Estonia do then? America may offer moral support, but is it going to risk a Third World War with Russia to protect Estonia? Such a course of events is not inevitable, or even likely. But it is not as preposterous as it should be.
Indeed, it should be entirely preposterous, as Estonia should never have been admitted to NATO, because America is certainly not going to risk WWIII to protect Estonia. The sooner that everyone understands that, and the less they talk about new Cold Wars, the better.