Democracy Envy

Five years ago, President Bush, looked Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin in the eyes and pronounced him a worthy soul. Mr. Putin, having looked into Mr. Bush’s eyes, clearly saw the lights on, but no one home. In the years that have passed, Mr. Putin has made the most of his new-best-friend’s disengagement.

In the early days of the new U.S. – Russia relationship, Mr. Putin was appropriately cordial. After all, Mr. Bush’s all-encompassing “war on terror” gave the former KGB officer the green light to mop up separatist rebels in Chechnya and other Central Asian republics. Needing every possible “ally” in a world where ever-fewer countries were willing to back America’s exceptionalist agenda, the State Department turned a blind eye to Mr. Putin’s blunting of Russia’s fledgling democratic institutions.

But lately the romance seems to have soured. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who so crave the consolidation of their own executive power at the expense of constitutional principles, have been increasingly vocal about similar counter-democratic developments in Russia. Likewise, Russia’s oil wealth, coupled with repeated U.S. foreign policy disasters, has given Mr. Putin a cock-sure smugness which flusters Ms. Rice and the boys.

Yesterday, Mr. Putin delivered one of the all-time great smack-downs to what passes for foreign policy in the Bush administration. According to the New York Times:

Mr. Bush said he had told Mr. Putin during a private dinner here Friday night about “my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq — where there is a free press and free religion — and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope Russia would do the same thing.”

Mr. Putin, standing bolt upright in a dark blue suit, responded dryly, “We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.”


0 Responses to “Democracy Envy”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blasts from the Past

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.


... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.


... because everyday is Mother's Day.


... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.


... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.


... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.


... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.


... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?


... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

Most Read Posts (last 24 hours)

Join the Banter!

At its most fun, memestream is a dialogue -- or, better, a cacophony -- rather than a library of overwrought essays reflecting a single point of view. For that, we need your two cents!

If you read anything on memestream that provokes an interesting thought, an emotion, a laugh, violent disagreement, passionate agreement, an anecdote, an uncontrollable non sequitur... be sure to leave a comment.

It will be no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that "all the best stuff" resides in the readers' comments. So don't stop reading when you hit the end of the essays. And add your voice to the discussion!

Enter your email address to follow memestream and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 56 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 377,339 hits

%d bloggers like this: