Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Faltering Revolutions

Even if the pieces of Ukraine’s fragmented “Orange Coalition” are able, by
some miracle, to form a coalition government, the first place finish by ex-
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s “Party of the Regions” in Sunday’s
parliamentary elections highlight the dramatic reversal of fortune in
Ukrainian politics. President Viktor Yushchenko, hailed a year ago in
Washington as a new Lech Walesa, seems to be following the Polish leader’s
trajectory—a hero in opposition, a failure in governing—in large part because
many in Ukraine feel that he was unable to deliver on his promises of closer
meaningful relations with the West. Meanwhile, in one of the quickest
political recoveries in modern times, Yanukovych, all but discredited after
his attempts to use fraud to secure the presidency in 2004, has emerged as
Ukraine’s leading political figure—by an election that the United States
considers to have been the freest and fairest in Ukraine’s post-Soviet

It’s not just the Orange Revolution that is losing steam. Further east,
Georgia has been shaken up by a violent attempt to break out up to 4000
criminals from Tbilisi’s prison number 5 and another sabotage attempt against
its power grid. Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, Julie Finley,
warned that “Georgia’s friends and allies” need to do more to help strengthen
democracy in the Caucasian republic, noting American concerns about "the
independence of the judiciary, the status of minority communities and freedom
of the media.” Is Mikheil Saakashvili’s political train traveling along the
same track as his predecessor Eduard Shevardnadze—who was also initially
lionized as a pro-Western democratic reformer and strategic ally of the United

Meanwhile, visiting the country that was the “grandmother” of the color
revolutions—Serbia—Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) renewed his call for the
West to create conditions for the rapid integration of all of former
Yugoslavia into the Euro-Atlantic community so that “you don't create an
environment in Serbia-Montenegro that the radicals, the nationalists exploit
and take over the government" by showing that a democratic administration has
been unable to meet the expectations of the people.

The lesson is quite clear: democratic breakthroughs—and the geopolitical
alterations they create—need active U.S. and EU engagement and support if they
are to be consolidated. An American strategy of democracy promotion in the
Eurasian space, for example, that was predicated largely upon the continued
Russian provision of subsidized energy and other economic benefits is bound to
fail—as the “gas crisis” of earlier this year so dramatically proved.

Too often, however, policymakers in Washington continue to reflect an attitude
crystallized in a comment attributed by the journalist Howard French to
Ambassador George Moose, when asked what the United States was doing to reward
Mali for its efforts to develop democracy: “Virtue is its own reward.”

That line may draw applause in a Washington that wants to cut foreign policy
costs but it ignores the cold reality that if the United States wants to
encourage the emergence of democratic governments in Eurasia and other parts
of the world that are pro-Western, holding out an abstract promise of eventual
inclusion in a “community of democracies” is no substitute for providing
tangible benefits.

But you see, as Bush the First said on 20 January 1989, "We have more will than wallet", which of course means, we don't really have the will, since the wallet is the test of what you really want.

So, it has taken 17 years, but the world finally sees that what we really want is unquestioned global military dominance. That is, after all, the only interaction with the rest of the world that we put serious money behind. The "Democracy" bit is for self-deception only, since, like I said, the rest of the world sees through it.
And so what if we want "unquestioned military dominance?" Look what we do with it--we maintain an open system from which everyone benefits. I'm with Krauthammer on this one.
So long as they pay tribute (i.e. buy treasury securities of the sort that our president referred to as "worthless IOUs".
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