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Michael Ignatieff   The New Yorker   02-Aug-1999   Advantages of dictatorship
"If Russia had been what Western policymakers had wanted it to be, which is to say a functioning pluralistic democracy, there is little doubt that it would not have behaved as the West wanted it to behave." Michael Ignatieff
The conclusion of interest to the Ukrainian Archive that emerges from the Michael Ignatieff excerpt below is that the more democratic a country is, the harder it is for the United States to predict or to control it.  It follows that, at least in some circumstances, the United States will lead a country into American-controlled dictatorship rather than democracy.  Furthermore, it has long been apparent that George-Soros-installed Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma has been chosen by the United States to lead Ukraine into just such a US-controlled dictatorship, and that the world community does not oppose this.  Sponsor and mentor of Leonid Kuchma, George Soros, does not oppose it.  The world press does not oppose it.  Nobody outside Ukraine opposes it.  Within Ukraine, there is some remaining opposition the newspapers The Kyiv Post, and The Day that Leonid Kuchma has not as yet shut down or bought up continue to voice a feeble protest, and corruption-investigating parliamentarian Hryhoriy Omelchenko continues to probe into government mafia activities despite a contract having been taken out on his life.

That's the news from Ukraine.  That news will become either suddenly better over the next few weeks and lead to the defeat of Leonid Kuchma in the October presidential elections, or it will become progressively worse, and stay bad for the rest of our lives as the Kuchma mafia seizes a control over Ukraine that is unchallengeable because it kills off any opposition that it is unable to terrorize.

The price that the Ukrainian people are paying and will continue to pay for American control of a Ukrainian dictatorship is a third-world economy and standard of living, cultural and intellectual strangulation, and the use of extra-legal violence as an integral tool of state control.  All of Latin America, long under the domination of the United States, offers a blueprint of what Ukraine can expect from its sheltering under the American wing.  So do the examples of the Middle Eastern countries that the United States holds sway over.  All monies that the United States advances either directly or through its various fronts has as its chief purpose the strengthening of dictatorship so as to tighten American control.  Every dollar advanced, whether in the form of a grant or a loan, is a dollar spent to support the ruling clique which is obedient to Washington, and works against the interests of the people ruled:

By some great coincidence, the World Bank's top borrowers including Pakistan also happen to be top performers in the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index.

Among the 12 countries receiving the most money from the World Bank Mexico, Indonesia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Turkey, Philippines, Morocco, Pakistan and Nigeria at least seven have been in the top 10 most corrupt countries in the world and the total amount the bank has invested in them is over $112 billion.
Farrukh Saleem, Throwing good money after bad, The Vancouver Sun, 01-Jul-1999, P. A21.

Several things in the Ignatieff excerpt below are worth noticing.  Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott stating "We didn't mince words" describes how an arrogant superior addresses an impotent subordinate.  The warning issued to Russia that "Any Russian assistance that increased the risk to United States pilots would have had a 'devastating' effect on the future of United States-Russian relations," must be taken to mean that there would be a devastating effect on US support for the ruling nomenklatura.  Stating that "the Russians decided that their national interest ultimately lay with America, not with a Balkan dictator" is twisting reality somewhat.  "The Russians" decide nothing; the dictators ruling over them decide everything.  Describing Yeltsin as an "autocrat" is a euphemistic way of saying that he is a dictator.


Devastating as the execution of the air campaign proved to be, particularly against Serbia's civilian infrastructure, it might have turned out very differently if the Russians had given the Serbs their latest technology.  The air war was essentially a duel between seventies Soviet air-defense technology and state-of-the-art American precision-guidance systems.  If NATO had been up against eighties Soviet technology, it might have lost twenty planes, and it is unclear whether NATO electorates would have stood for such losses.  Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott has confirmed that the United States "repeatedly and explicitly" warned Russia not to provide Yugoslavia with "any military assistance matériel, know-how, personnel."  As he put it, "We didn't mince words."  Any Russian assistance that increased the risk to United States pilots would have had a "devastating" effect on the future of United States-Russian relations.

Diplomacy, in other words, was just as important in changing Milosevic's mind as the air war was.  Milosevic had gambled that NATO would not hold together if it were faced with the aroused opposition of the Russians and their overt military assistance to Serbia.  Russia could have split NATO in two, but for all their talk of Slavic brotherhood, the Russians decided that their national interest ultimately lay with America, not with a Balkan dictator.

It was the Russians who told Milosevic that the game was up.  And herein lies a major irony.  If Russia had been what Western policymakers had wanted it to be, which is to say a functioning pluralistic democracy, there is little doubt that it would not have behaved as the West wanted it to behave.  A democratic Russia would have actively supported the Serbs.  Yeltsin, the autocrat, was able to ignore popular feeling in favor of Serbia and instruct his special envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, to abandon the Milosevic regime.  That he did so, senior American officials believe, is due to the channel of communication between Vice-President Gore and Chernomyrdin, established when the latter was Prime Minister of Russia.
Michael Ignatieff, The Virtual Commander: How NATO invented a new kind of war, The New Yorker, 02Aug99, pp. 35-36.


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