Tuesday, April 03, 2007
What's Going on in Ukraine
Ukraine needs to have stable procedures for resolving political issues and this I think is a more overriding interest than whether "pro-Western" politicians gain temporary advantage. I've always been concerned about a trend in Eastern Europe and Eurasia toward having political matters resolved outside of constitutional frameworks. Georgia, for instance, has not had a single instance of stable transition of executive power since becoming an independent state in 1991. Now we have a situation where some in Ukraine seem to want to have constant "repeats" of elections to produce a desired outcome.
I just don't see the evidence that if new elections are held that somehow the Orange Coalition is poised to make great electoral breakthroughs in eastern Ukraine. We'll come back to the same deadlock that we have now. And institutions will be weakened further.
None of these states are worth the Russian-US relationship.
Imagine if foreign governments tried to intervene in Bush v. Gore. Then imagine what the reaction would be from the winning side.
Timoshenko can't win at the ballot box, so she's going to stir up trouble and hope you bail her out.
In 2005, the Orange Revolution really was neccessary. Ukraine indeed needs to have stable procedures for resolving political issues - and this does not include rigged elections. Ukraine risked descending into an authoritarian regime.
2007 is different. Yuschencko apparently no longer has popular support. This raises hope that the pro-Putin forces might stick to stable, law-based, non-dishonest procedures, because they can now have what they want without dirty tricks.
If Yanukovich takes a Putinist turn, the U.S. should be ready to support dissenters. We need to take a harder line with our friends than with our enemies on democratic norms.
Jordan, you miss the point. Russia is the enemy. Russia has the human and material resources to conduct an independent foreign policy, and the USG cannot stand that. The USG supported Yeltsin because he was running his country into the ditch. The USG opposes Putin because he has steered his country away from destruction and is leading it from strength to strength.
Its that simple.