Robert Skidelsky
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Project Syndicate "Against the Current"

Recovering from Kosovo
Robert Skidelsky
Project Syndicate | Sunday, April 13, 2008 | English version Russian

 
Kosovo’s recent unilateral declaration of independence brought back memories. I publicly opposed NATO’s attack on Serbia – carried out in the name of protecting the Kosovars from Serb atrocities – in March 1999. At that time, I was a member of the Opposition Front Bench – or Shadow Government – in Britain’s House of Lords. The then Conservative leader, William Hague, immediately expelled me to the “back benches.” Thus ended my (minor) political career. Ever since, I have wondered whether I was right or wrong.
 
I opposed military intervention for two reasons. First, I argued that while it might do local good, it would damage the rules of international relations as they were then understood. The UN charter was designed to prevent the use

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The moral vulnerability of markets
Robert Skidelsky
Project Syndicate | Thursday, March 13, 2008 | English version Russian

 
Today, there seems to be no coherent alternative to capitalism, yet anti-market feelings are alive and well, expressed for example in the moralistic backlash against globalization. Because no social system can survive for long without a moral basis, the issues posed by anti-globalization campaigners are urgent – all the more so in the midst of the current economic crisis.
 
It is hard to deny some moral value to the market. After all, we attach moral value to processes as well as outcomes, as in the phrase “the end does not justify the means.” It is morally better to have our goods supplied by free labor than by slaves, and to choose our goods rather than have them chosen for us by the state. The fact that the market system is more

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Vladimir de Gaulle?
Robert Skidelsky
Project Syndicate | Thursday, December 13, 2007 | English version Russian

 
The greatest disappointment of the postcommunist era has been the failure of the West – particularly Europe – to build a successful relationship with Russia. Most policymakers and experts expected that, after an inevitably troublesome period of transition, Russia would join the United States and Europe in a strategic and economic partnership, based on shared interests and values. The pace of change might be doubtful, but not its direction. Vladimir Putin’s massive electoral triumph in this week’s Duma elections has put the lie to that notion.
 
Today, shared interests have shrunk and values have diverged. A resurgent Russia is the world’s foremost revisionist power, rejecting a status quo predicated on the notion of a Western victory in

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