Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Little Russia's Geopolitical Spasm

If you thought that the Ukranian election was between a doughty democrat and a foreign backed demogogue you'd be half right. Both sides of the Ukranian election were backed by foreign powers, but what makes it interesting is that they were both backed by foreign powers, its just that they used different tools.

The East of the country stuffed ballot boxes. But who were the International Republican Institute or the National Democratic Institute For International Affairs supporting? The reason why they are important is hat these two bodies channel American taxpayers money into poorer countries political systems through supposedly partisan channels (the Republican and Democtat monikers do this). And the money goes a long way in post communist countries. The Foreign Office and the British political parties do the same in case you were wondering.

They were supporting the good guy by the way.

There's nothing actually wrong with that. I can't think of any compelling national interest in Ukraine, but if there was then subsidising friendly politicos would have to be done some how, we might as well feel virtuous about it. And I would probably have suported the free marketeer Viktor Yushchenko if I were Ukranian (with the important proviso that I'm not). However these two caveats aside it is important to remember that this is less a battle about democracy and more about Ukraine's alignment.

The West (that's both the EU and America) want Ukraine in their camp, and the Russian's don't. Thus lots of money and other help from both sides poured in. That's life.

As some perspective Kerry won on the exit polls and Bush got a margin of victory of less than three per cent, if that brings any perspective. And Kerry was backed by self-righteous foreigners.

(Although it is a fair bet that pro Yushchenko local governments (including Kiev) did try to match the ballot stuffing antics of Viktor Yanukovych and that more pro-fascist nostalgics in the Western third (this is Eastern Europe here) backed Yushchenko over Yanukovych don't believe some of the stuff that will come out about Yanukovych being the real democrat. It's about as believable as the pro-Mugabe guff that we sometimes come across.)


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