March 01, 2004

Eastern Europe Watch

"Creeping authoritarianism" in Eastern Europe and "Ukraine fatigue"?

Read all about it here:

"Some administration officials have been working on the problem, and a meeting of the "deputies" group of senior foreign policy and defense officials recently considered what the United States might do this year to promote freedom in Ukraine and Belarus. But the administration's focus on the "greater Middle East" has tended to shift attention and resources from the borderlands of Eurasia. And some administration officials remain reluctant to pursue any policy that risks a fight with Putin.

In fact, the Bush administration has a better chance of stopping the creeping authoritarianism of Eastern Europe here than it does in Moscow. Putin angrily dismisses complaints about his consolidation of power, but a slap by the Council of Europe prompted Kuchma to revise the constitutional amendment he is pushing in parliament -- though not by enough. While they may admire Putin's strongman model, Kuchma and his gang fear rejection by the West and the complete subjugation to Moscow it could lead to. "The regime is afraid of one thing: the reaction of the West to what is happening in Ukraine," says Yushchenko. If they hear more of it in the coming months, democracy here might still be saved." [emphasis added]

Imagine.

A U.S. administration more focused on building democracy in the Middle East than in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. How the wheels of history turn!

Posted by Gregory at March 1, 2004 12:43 PM
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