Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ukraine & Russia

I'm in agreement with Lawyers Guns and Money and Matthew Yglesias on the Ukraine situation. Clearly we need to support the pro-western candidate, both because he did win and because he is more committed to our values. I guess what I find interesting is the desire among the Russians and the pro-Russian areas of the old Soviet Union (Belarus and eastern Ukraine primarily) to revert to a Brezhnev-era government. What is the appeal? Is it the sense of order? Is it a belief that that period represented a time when the Soviets were a world power and thus Putin and his minions will lead the Russians back to being a world power?

The other issue concerning how to think about Russia and its surrogates is nuclear. Is it better to have a stable if corrupt and pointless authoritarian government or an unstable democracy when we're talking about a nationalistic nation that is aggrieved about losing its empire and has the world's most powerful weapons? My heart says that I want the people of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to have free democracies but my head is saying that maybe my life is more secure with Putin as the head of Russia and some flunkey of his leading the other 2 nations.