Friday, December 28, 2007

Kenya, Russia, Pakistan

TWR readers may be interested in tracking down Andrei Tsygankov's "From Russia With No Love Left" (Johnson's Russia List 2007-#264), where he notes in his conclusion, "If Russia is not heard this time, its desperation may turn into a conscientious effort to sabotage the United States’ policies as a way to preserve a room to maneuver."

Anatol Lieven offers his recommendations on Pakistan, advising, "As far as Washington is concerned, the best course of action for the moment is once again to do nothing, since nothing the U.S. can do in the short term will do any good."

The Kenyan elections are interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, not a lot of Western focus or attention--after all, Kenya is not one of the countries in the front row of the March of Freedom. But what you have is interesting: the opposition that took down the government of arap Moi in 2002 is in turn being replaced by its own opposition that named itself in honor of Ukraine's "Orange revolution." And Nobel Prize winners and people the West like are losing elections to the coalition put together by Raila Odinga.

I find Odinga interesting because of his "mixed messages"--a big businessman who retains a good deal of his socialist education; an elected leader who is also effectively the head of the Luo in Kenya. He combines multiple styles of authority--elected leader, chieftain, business figure--and his voters voted for him and his people because they expect delivery of social goods and services. It is a reminder that in most democracies people don't vote for abstracts--they vote for concrete bread and butter issues.

Nik, I assume you must have liked Tsygankov quoting Yakunin quoting Morgenthau that policymakers must assume other countries have national interests too!
Interesting, Nick, Anatol thinks, per your comment a few days ago, that Bhutto's PPP can't make the jump from being a dynastic to a programmatic party. No heir ready to step in.
The Yury Levada Analytical Center recently asked Russians whether they thought the purpose of America's foreign policy is 'the complete destruction of Russia.' Of their sample, 43% agreed, 42% disagreed, with 15% finding the question 'hard to answer'.

Note that the question refers to the 'complete destruction' of Russia. Anyone confident that American malevolence was not quite so extreme would, obviously, have to disagree with the statement.
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