Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The euphoria is over. The Orange revolution in Ukraine flushed away some unpopular figures from the political scene, but was unable to deliver on expectations. Everyday life has not changed much for most of the people. The economy is still in a poor shape, and is suffering from structural issues, obsolete technology, low energy efficiency, etc, inherited from the Soviet era.
Isn't the situation much the same in Georgia?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 20th, 2005 at 05:32:31 PM EST
Much worse, as far as economy is concerned ...
by aquilon (albaruthenia at gmail dot com) on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 01:17:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I second that motion: welcome to Euro Trib...and thank you very much for posting this! Please write another diary soon. I had written a diary about the sacking of the cabinet, but have not heard much since then. Any insights into possible future developments would be appreciated.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 03:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean politically, with Saakashvili having said that there is no need for opposition parties to have a democracy.

What I mean is that the "revolutions" that the Western elites were so happy about have not delivered any substantial improvements for the people of the respective countries: neither economically nor politically nor in terms of civil liberties.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 08:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Following is my post at DC Message Boards, which is about a year old now:

"It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," President George W. Bush said in his inaugural address. "The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," Mr Bush told the gathering.

It may have impressed some naive believers in self-sufficiency of freedom as we know it. Unfortunately, people, who happened to be born somewhere else, can tell us a different story. For instance, between February and October 1917, Russia was one of the most democratic nations in the world. The Weimar Republic in Germany (1919-1933) had a very democratic constitution. We know how it all ended. Actually, Mr Lukashenko is the first democratically elected President of Belarus, and still has strong support there. And Mr Putin, who recently got on our watch list for extending presidential powers, is also seen as the best and only choice by the majority of the Russians.

What on Earth do they think? Why do they show so little appreciation for freedom? My guess is that people, who struggle to make ends meet, hardly feel free under the most democratic rule in the world. Viable democracy can only be built on stable economic ground. Until people have means to take care of themselves, they will trade their freedom for guaranteed income to meet their basic needs. It took the Marshall Plan to save Western Europe from becoming red.

Frankly speaking, "expansion of freedom" sounds a bit scary. Does it mean that we see it as our way to peace? I doubt that, say, removing Mr Lukashenko from power - even without dropping bombs on Minsk - would be widely welcome in Belarus, unless it improved the economic situation for most of the people there. If we want to help, our policy should rather stimulate economic development and make transition to market less painful. There are a number of ways to do that. Former Soviet republics need investment capital and new technologies to modernize their production capacities and become competitive on world markets. Privatization is a necessary component of this process. Growing unemployment makes people and leaders there look at small businesses more favorably. Let us help them with tailored programs of economic development, credits, trade agreements and training. People less dependent on the government economically, will be less willing to accept tyranny. Sure, this kind of approach is unlikely to make news headlines. So, what do we really want?


Sorry for the long response.

by aquilon (albaruthenia at gmail dot com) on Thu Dec 22nd, 2005 at 01:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series