Friday, February 25, 2005


President George W. Bush has extolled the virtues of democracy time and time again. Yet, it is not enough that a country adopt democracy. They must now adopt a specific form of democracy, as dictated, by us.

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush said that Washington--read: the neo-cons--"had concerns about Russia's commitment in fulfilling" the "universal principles" of democracy.

He went on: "Yet democracies have certain things in common; they have a rule of law, and protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition."

Putin was visibly--and understandably--irritated. According to the article, "in Russian official circles, the meeting is likely to be seen as a humiliation". Putin's job is tough enough without our "help". Undermining him will hurt his chances of ruling Russia effectively.

After all, why is it any of our business what kind of government--let alone democracy--Russia has? Roosevelt allies with Stalin just over fifty years ago because it helped us win World War II. Yet today, when an American-Russian alliance is just as important, Bush is needlessly alienating Putin.

What good does it do to anger Russia? The cold war is long over and with it our animosity should fade. Pushing Russia away only allows her to grow closer to the Muslim world. Bush knows this. His ultimatum has been set: either you are with us or you are against us. Does he want Russia to be against us?

It is high time we allow Russia to determine her own fate. Arrogance on our part will only worsen our chances at winning this "war on terror". We are not at war with Russia, and our policy should reflect this.

As Jefferson penned so long ago, let us hold Russia "as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends".


Loyal Achates said...

Bush's needling of Putin was purely symbolic. He's been taking heat for allying himself with all kinds of anit- and un-democratic regimes, so paying lip service to democracy is all he's good for. It's not like Putin's worried about the Russians hearing about it, since he controls the media.

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