An illuminating op-ed by Peter Unwin, a former UK ambassador to Hungary in the 1980s. The voice of realism or Foreign Office cynicism? I can't help wondering what advice he gave the Hungarians when the Soviet Union was on its last legs:

"Imagine an election in Mexico that produces a president favourable to the United States, as elections there have done for 70 years now. But this time international observers, God forbid, detect electoral abuse. Vladimir Putin demands a recount, a rerun. Consider the outcry in the US. Unthinkable? Not really. Has there ever been a really fraud-free election in Mexico?"

So America and Russia are much the same as each other? Very much an EU man, Unwin is worried about the prospects of Ukraine being absorbed into the West:

"Do we really want to see the EU take in 50 million Ukrainians as well as 70 million Turks? Do we want a union so disparate that it can never make itself effective as a political voice in tomorrow's world? Do we, for that matter, want an EU facing an implacably hostile Russia, hostile to us because we have so recklessly forced our way into Russia's back yard? American neo-cons may want that, but we should not."

And by the way, don't pay too much attention to all that rhetoric about spreading freedom:

"It is time for Britain and for western Europe to get real. For too long now we have gone along with the idea that spreading democracy on our terms is all good. Where there is a real demand for it, we should do what we can to help; but democracy that grows out of the barrels of Western guns will not endure."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2004/11/ukraine-mandarin-speaks-illuminating.html|||11/28/2004 06:53:00 pm|||||||||
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