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View Diary: BREAKING: Yanukovych Flees Kiev, New Elections In May (269 comments)

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  •  Egypt, Venezuela, Ukraine, Thailand (12+ / 0-)

    in all four cases, an opposition minority, contemptuous of the democratic process, wants to oust a sitting, democratically elected leader by causing chaos, provoking a violent response, and tarnishing the government in the eyes of the world.

    This strategy has worked in Egypt and Ukraine. Thailand remains to be seen, Venezuela might hold out another couple years.

    The US response to these cases varies, but at best it has been neutral (Thailand), at worst it has given strong verbal (and covert material) support to the opposition (Egypt). The media has generally been pretty abysmal at being even remotely evenhanded. They're not interested in journalism or explaining complexity.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 10:16:53 AM PST

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    •  It seems to me that the US gave more backing (6+ / 0-)

      to the overthrow of Mubarak than to the overthrow of Morsi.  What makes you say otherwise?

      BTW, I'm not sure how much of what I see as lessened support for overthrowing Morsi is ideological, and how much is the US realizing that it has limited power and few desirable options.

      I'm sure the US would love to support a secular, non-military and non-corrupt government in Egypt, but this type of government could not be elected under an conditions which have existed in recent years or are likely to exist any time soon.

      •  The USA gave no backing to the overthrow (4+ / 0-)

        of Mubarak.  It, and it's media, did do a number on the democratically elected president and refused to call it a coup when he was overthrown and now on a show trial.  Get your facts straight.

        Anyways, you are literally justifying a military coup by saying Egyptians aren't ready for democracy.  Do you have any shame?

        •  this is a widely shared view here (0+ / 0-)

          that Egyptians aren't ready for democracy.  

          •  It is a racist view. (3+ / 0-)

            The muslim brotherhood was elected because they where the only party seen as the least corrupt.  The deepstate (still run by the military and oligarchs) put a an economic squeeze on the new government.  The opposition (which was part of the previous regime) immediately walked out with some bogus excuse.  

            Egyptians where ready for democracy.  But the US and other nations (such as Israel and Saudi Arabia) where against it.  It was planned from the get go.  Now we have a sham presidential race and a show trial.  

            Next time you should really hold your tongue before saying utterly racist nonsense like "Egyptians aren't ready for democracy."

      •  Agreed. US has been haphazard at best in Egypt (0+ / 0-)

        and the best summary I could give of their strategy there during the Arab Spring has been "go with the winning team".

        "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

        by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:05:58 PM PST

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    •  Morsi dug his own grave. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nota bene, Nowhere Man, Jay C, IM, native

      The key distinction is that, just because he dug his own grave, I don't think the military had the right to proverbially bury him in it.  But he paved the way by failing to realize that democracy doesn't stop the morning after the polls close, and he earned the ire of his own people, particularly the urban secular classes, by his own volition.

      Unfortunately, that ire was channeled not into demands for a new compact with the people of Egypt but instead into a desire for the Army to come in and fix Morsi like they fixed Mubarak.  Be careful what you wish for...

      Basically, a democracy with responsible government needs not just the words of a strong Constitution (which Egypt lacked) but it also needs leaders who subscribe to those words, a George Washington or a Václav Havel.  And Morsi was no Václav Havel.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:42:23 PM PST

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      •  funny (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auron renouille, charliehall2

        how many people here LOVED Chavez, who did a lot of the same things that Morsi did to consolidate power.

        Still, Egyptians seem to be facing only bad options, sadly

      •  It will be hard for Ukraine. (5+ / 0-)

        Ukraine is currently a nation with some democratic standards, but still significant problems. One revolution before, the one in 2004, already failed. Success here will require withstanding circumstances which aren't exactly favorable, and will take many years on top of that. Almost all non-Baltic Soviet countries are autocratic dictatorships, and while progress is possible, it is anything but easy.

        •  Back in 2005, when I was a first-year law student, (5+ / 0-)

          a young and successful attorney at the children's rights legal organization that I worked at quit her job there (on good terms) in order to join a delegation heading to Moldova to provide technical support on drafting a new constitution and instituting the rule of law.  I didn't know her well and I never heard from her after she left, but it did lead me to read a great deal more about a nation that most of us (myself included) have trouble finding on a map.

          Undoubtedly, a lot of good people did a lot of good work, but the country has been so dependent on exports to Russia that it has not gone nearly as well as the success stories in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

          I would say that, when a country tries to shake off a communist and authoritarian past, the odds are against it.  Against it by perhaps 60/40, or maybe even 70/30.  East Germany had the rapid infusion of West German wealth and the ability to join a state that was already successful in implementing the rule of law, as well as a successful albeit somewhat poor city - West Berlin - at its heart.  Rather than writing new laws, they joined an already thriving democracy.  And even nearly 25 years after reunification, once you get outside of Berlin and Dresden, the East is still poorer than the West.

          Poland and the Czech Republic had excellent leaders, people who will be remembered in the same light as our Constitutional framers (who were basically brilliant, despite their many flaws).  I don't know as much about Slovakia and how it managed to succeed.  But, unfortunately, not every country can be Poland or the Czech Republic.  For every Poland, there are Moldovas and Serbias and Kazakhstans too. :(

          "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

          by auron renouille on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:31:57 PM PST

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          •  Interesting analysis. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zenbassoon, earicicle, IM, native

            Poland was helped by having an ethnically homogenous nation, and by its great leaders as well. Czechoslovakia had to split up in two, but from there it managed itself well, even as struggles were present in the process. On the other hand, there is Bosnia-Hercegovina, Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and a whole lot of other cases of failure. Hungary is a mixed bag, given that when the country spiraled into depression, the prime minister was caught saying in private "we lied to the voters, and we won reelection!". Subsequently he lost and was replaced by a conservative hardliner who won a 2/3 majority and used it to ram through a partisan constitution restricting press freedom.

            The worst region by far though has been the ex-USSR. With the exception of the Baltic states (which were in the Soviet Union shorter and had strong national identities_, most of these countries rank near the bottom of all human rights rankings. You've got places like Belarus, where the neo-Soviet. government has been refusing to budge in the past two decades, despite pressure from its neighbors.  That doesn't even take into account the totalitarian Central Asian states like Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan, where at times the government has been accused of boiling dissidents alive (!).

            Ukraine starts off being deeply divided, corrupt, oligarchic, and at times pressured by Russia, which views it as its playground. Success isn't out of the question, but the divided, incoherent opposition will need to set up a strong cabinet, find a convincing candidate to become president, rewrite the electoral law and hold elections for the parliament, after that bring into power a workable coalition government, withstand Russia's bullying. Then, if all that is accomplished, they might start thinking about how to fix the economy or begin the reforms that might bring the country even remotely closer to Europe... Needless to say it won't be easy, and the opposition has already failed once, after the Orange Revolution.

            •  Don't forget also that Ukraine's boundaries were (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bananapouch1, earicicle, IM, native

              set by the USSR--taken from part of a Russian speaking area, and also from part of Old Poland that the Austrians and Prussians had annexed way back when. Ukraine is essentially two countries.

              "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

              by zenbassoon on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:24:57 PM PST

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              •  Exactly. These boundaries are all artificial. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                earicicle, IM, LanceBoyle, native

                Crimea was in fact part of the Russian SSR, before Kruschev transferred it to Ukraine in the 1950s, and even today ethnic Russians make up a majority in the region. Ukraine is artificial, and it won't be hard for Putin to try to exploit these divisions. It will be a Herculean task for anyone to hold together the two parts of the country while carrying out the reforms needed to bring it closer to Europe. The Orange Revolution imploded largely because of infighting amongst the movement and the ever-present tensions.

                •  Thank you, bananapouch1, zenbasson and (0+ / 0-)

                  auron renouille. It refreshing to see thoughtful, nuanced discussion of the complex challenges facing the Ukraine--discussion rooted in the region's tumultuous history. After centuries of autocratic rule--monarchs, tsars, Soviet dictators-- democracy is in its infancy in the Ukraine. It strikes me as the height of naivete to being arguing about which side to support--as many seem to be doing here--through very American-colored glasses. As if our perspective mattered more than that of the Ukrainian people themselves.

                  The Russians/Soviets/Russians have a big, bad history in the region. Big. Bad. Most former SSRs are trying to become truly independent nations, while still containing substantial ethnic Russian populations, with ZERO recent experience in self-governance.

                  Kossacks need to learn some history. The world does not revolve around your (American) ideas.

                  Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

                  by earicicle on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 02:36:44 AM PST

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                  •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    earicicle

                    This is a deeply nuanced, complicated conflict and it's not as simple as "good guys vs. bad guys". It's never easy for a country that was part of a Russian-dominated totalitarian dictatorship for 70 years to become a liberal democracy overnight, and ethnic tensions don't help either. Ukraine shows that getting rid of bad leaders is only the start, now the country will need to overcome huge obstacles which I mentioned above if it will truly get closer to Europe.

    •  you see (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Visceral, charliehall2
      an opposition minority, contemptuous of the democratic process,
      there is no democratic process with such a high level of corruption. so democratically elected yanukovich is not a democratically elected obama. just keep that in mind.
    •  Not even remotely clear the opposition in Ukraine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      charliehall2

      is the minority. In fact, Yanukovych only won the last election through interference from Putin. Russia has fucked with Ukraine for over a century. The Ukrainian people deserve to be rid of Russian tyranny once and for all. The only way that happens is joining the EU.

      The alternative is continued corrupt influence by Russian oligarchs. Ukraine would enjoy having a better future like that of Poland or the Czech Republic.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

      by JWK on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:06:04 PM PST

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