Monday, February 08, 2010

Ukraine: Another election goes the wrong way for Uncle Sam


This article of mine appears in The First Post.

It's a fix! So claims Yulia Tymoshenko, the defeated candidate in yesterday's Ukrainian presidential elections. Even before a vote was cast, Tymoshenko had been warning her rival Viktor Yanukovych of "the kind of resistance he has never seen before" if he tried to rig the election. "If we are unable to guarantee the honest expression of the people's will and honest results, we will mobilise the people," she said. "I have no doubt about this."

Now that she has indeed lost we can prepare ourselves for days - even weeks - of protests as her supporters attempt to annul the result.

A sense of deja vu? Absolutely. We've been here a few times before.

In 2000, the self-styled 'democratic' opposition in Yugoslavia claimed that any result in the presidential election which did not show the incumbent Slobodan Milosevic defeated in round one would be a fix - and that they'd take to the streets. Which is what they did. In the so-called 'Bulldozer Revolution' which followed, parliament was set on fire and Milosevic lost power.

In 2009, the Iranian 'green' opposition declared that any result which showed the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner in the country's presidential election would be fraudulent and that they'd take to the streets. Which is what they did.
So far Ahmadenijad's regime hasn't been toppled, but it's certainly been seriously weakened by the protests.

What the 'democratic' opposition in Yugoslavia, Iran and Ukraine have in common is that they were the favoured choices of the US. In the Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko may have modified her once fiercely anti-Russian position, but there's no doubting that the US would prefer one of the co-leaders of the US-backed 2004 'Orange Revolution' and a supporter of Nato membership to an opponent – i.e. Viktor Yanukovych - who is against joining Nato and wants his country to be neutral.

The opposition can make their claims about the election being fraudulent, before a vote is even cast, because they know that their cause will be championed by the US and its closest allies, including Britain. They also know that they will be sympathetically portrayed as 'democrats' in the mainstream western media - and that their rivals will be portrayed as 'cheats' and 'frauds'.


Youc can read the rest of the article here.

UPDATE: Neo-con commentator Anne Applebaum has penned a piece in today's Washington Post entitled "Ukraine's democratic evolution, on hold for now".
Vote the wrong way, i.e., not for Anne's favoured 'democratic revolutionaries' and there are real fears for 'democracy', it seems.
She also thinks that the Orange Revolution lost public support because it didn't introduce enough economic 'reforms'. "The Ukrainian government still has not gotten around to privatizing land or removing Soviet-era subsidies from the budget", she complains.
That's right Anne, if only the government had sold off the land and removed all subsidies, the 'Orange' side would have won the election. If you believe that, you'll believe anything (including the neocon conspiracy theories that Iraq possessed WMD and that Iran currently poses a nuclear 'threat'.)

9 comments:

neil craig said...

Also the Georgian "Rose Revolution" where the NATO powers said a narrow win for the government wasn't fair, the government fell, the election was rerun with New York lawyer Saakashvili who got I think 95% of the vote. The NATO powers considered this a credible result & the rest is Georgia's bloody history.

Also there is the Bosnian indepedence referendum - 90% for independence according to an unconstitutional "government who controlled only a small part of the nation. The Montenegrin one where the independence requirement was passed by 0.1% (about 100 votes). On the other hand Mexico had an election a few years ago which was clearly stolen by the government - nobody objected.

Robin Carmody said...

The Mexican election I think you mean is mentioned in the full article on the First Post site.

vladimir gagic said...

A minor point, but in the 1992 Bosnian referendum, the % in favor of independence was less than 2/3, not 90%. Even in Sarajevo, I don't believe the vote was 90% in favor of independence. But 90% of the republic did vote for nationalist parties (HDZ,SDS,SDA). Second, the only reason the Bosnian Croats voted in favor of the referendum was not because they wanted to be part of an independent Bosnia, but that was the first step in connecting Hercig-Novi to Croatia proper. That's what democracy meant in the Western Balkans; ethnic groups wanting to join their kin, regardless of how anti-global and that may be.

Anonymous said...

When the US-financed and trained DOS movement stormed the Serbian parliament, the first thing they did was to burn ballot papers so that there could be no recount. The smoke that could be seen coming from the parliament's windows was coming from burning ballot papers. That sums up "democracy" in the New World Order.

Gregor said...

The West certainly has double standards (and America isn't alone in this regard). However, I think that the differences are in some ways meaningful.

It is self evident that a 'neo-liberal empire' cannot work. If neo-liberals really did have a magic bullet, then of course it might, but in truth it doesn't. with Latvia set to collapse and numerous social problems of neo-liberal success stories (Ireland is still in recession), the neo-liberals will probably decide that no number of colour revolutions will change anything.

I notice that many neo-liberals froth in hatred at 'Vladimir Putin' despite the fact he doesn't even run the country anymore.

At first I thought that this was just because they want a 'Hitler' figure. Now I'm beginning to wonder if they are just beginning to realise that Russia has no ideological straitjacket to impose upon their neighbours.

Mr. Piccolo said...

Gregor,

Good points, especially with regard to the collapse of the neoliberal "Golden Boys" in the Baltic and elsewhere. In light of all the failures of neoliberalism, it is really strange that there does not seem to be any major shift brewing towards a different economic system. Neoliberals seem to continue to maintain that their system is "the only way" and in some cases are pushing for more neoliberalism as an antidote to our current problems. Contrast this to the way governments largely abandoned laissez-faire after the Great Depression.

That being said, I think part of the reason for the resilience of neoliberalism in the rich countries is that the politicians kept enough of the state-interventionist, Keynesian system to keep neoliberalism from collapsing completely.

Neoliberalism as practiced in the rich countries isn't really a full return to classical liberalism. It is more like a kind of reverse Keynesianism, where powerful private interests use the government to transfer wealth up the line, instead of down the line, through policies like privatization and union busting.

Enough of the old Welfare State is maintained to make sure there is no total collapse. The result is a kind of zombie economy that just limps along on life support. Of course, the developing nations that put on the neoliberal “Golden Straightjacket” are doing even worse, largely because they were pushed to adopt a less interventionist model of neoliberalism, which is another example of the hypocrisy of the rich nations.

neil craig said...

The BRICK countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea) have essenmtially not only stayed out of recession but have been growing fast. They are run along classicliberal lines. It is possible that this is a slong run of complete coincidences but that is statistically improbable.

I'm not sure what "neo-liberal" means but if we are an example, with government regulation preventing growth & destroying 50% of our potential economy & taxing us out of half of what remains it has nothing in common with traditional liberalism.

Anonymous said...

China, 'run along classic liberal lines'? Oh, my aching sides.

neil craig said...

Only in economic terms which is what I was discussing. Or are you saying they are not running a free market but still centrally planned socialism?