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'.)