From: Andrei Sitov (WashTASS@aol.com)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 15:25:36 EST
Subject: Re: 2006-#63-Johnson's Russia List [re: Belarus, Ukraine elections]
When the Americans twice elected President Bush, they showed a healthy disregard for the opinion of the outside world.
When the Iranians recently gave an election victory to Mr. Ahmadinejad, the Palestinians to HAMAS and the Bolivians to Mr. Morales, they showed a similar attitude to the opinion in Washington and elsewhere.
The US may yet come to regret even the prearranged electoral "triumphs of democracy" in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In general, recent experience suggests there are few things that people everywhere resent more than outside lecturing on whom they should or should not vote for. Attempts to prejudge or, worse, influence elections in other countries tend to backfire.
Yet the US government is currently trying to do exactly that in the run-up to elections in Belarus and Ukraine. Witness a stream of pronouncements from the White House and the State Department.
Contrary to expected results, it may actually stoke anti-American feelings in both countries and play into the hands of those whom Washington is trying to oppose.
And there is an even bigger concern. Using freedom and democracy as expedient tools of international politicking trivializes, corrupts and ultimately betrays the very ideals that Washington claims to uphold.
One only wishes that it were possible to defend the Belarus case on merit rather than on principle.