"Soviet" aggression against "democracies" ?

The recent Caucasian conflict has awakened the anti-Communist Right around the world. I have actually heard the battle described in terms of "Soviet" and "communist" aggression against "democratic" and "Christian" neighbors. And, even if those words are not used, it is clear that they are beneath the surface: Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, is seen as a "democracy", and a "Christian" nation, while Russia is not. Russia is considered "Communist" and "Soviet", while Georgia is not.

In fact, though, Russia and Georgia are both former parts of the USSR, and are both capitalist democracies today. And, in both formerly officially atheist countries, Christianity is now the main, state-favored religion. The old vocabulary and the old framing simply do not work.

It is true that one can quibble about variations of democratic procedure, yet, there is no doubt that both countries are proudly democratic and thoroughly capitalistic.

So, what vocabulary should we use to talk about Russia? One advantage of the old Soviet/Communist/Atheist versus Democratic/Capitalist/Christian dichotomies is that it is very efficient. With that vocabulary, there was never any need for a deeper analysis of goals, motives, or plans: the commies wore the black hats, the democracies wore the white ones. Is there any possible replacement vocabulary that could hope to do this job?

Another word I've seen is eastern versus western, but of course Georgia is just as eastern as Russia, so that doesn't work.

Basically, I don't think there is a replacement.

This has enormous implications for our political discourse. In order to castigate the Russians, we will have to drill down into whatever the specific action is that they have done. There won't be a convenient shortcut. We will be forced to analyze the issues involved, and consider that maybe there will be two sides to the situation, with good and bad on each.

There are certain other very interesting questions that this raises for the Right.

The biggest is: what about the Cold War? Since Communism was invented way back in the 19th Century, we have been defining international relations in terms of the struggle between it and Capitalism. Somewhere along the way, Communism was tagged with "atheist" and "dictatorship", while Capitalism got "Christian" and "democratic". For many decades, both before and after World War II, those tags were adequate to explain every detail of the economic and military aspects of our foreign policy. However, if the Right is right (which I doubt, but for the sake of argument), and Russia is about to embark on its earlier imperialistic adventures, then perhaps the problem during the Soviet years wasn't with Communism (or with dictators or with atheism). Maybe the problem all along had to do with Russia: its history, its neighbors, its peoples, its geography, and so on. This is a potientially mind-altering thought.

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