Russian President (for life?) Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea, threatened and bullied Ukraine and is promising to build a bigger military presence in and around former Soviet “States”. He has done all this by insuring there was no internal debate about any of these moves. No downsides discussed, no pros and cons debated. It’s good to be king. This is what happens when you smash political opposition and suppress independent media. (Sounds like another current, powerful world leader’s wish list). The Federation Council voted 90-0 a couple of months ago to authorize deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine. Ninety to zero! Of course, this was after Russian troops were actually deployed to Ukraine. (The Supreme Soviet usually had one or two fake dissenting votes just so it might appear to the most naïve that there was debate or dissent going on in that august body). Public protests without government approval have been banned. Dissenting voices have been silenced, charges of defamation or treason thrown at them. Arrests and beatings have occurred. My God, it’s like they questioned Global Warming/Climate Change or something!
These government crackdowns are taking place all over the world. Protesters for liberty are being harassed and threatened. Hong Kong is the latest of a long string of these. Whether it’s China, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Cuba, etc., people want freedom and independence. Where has the United States been? Sadly, our government has been more concerned with oppressing and stifling liberty and its supporters in this country than defending them in others. The IRS scandal, “tea-baggers” being mocked and vilified, the president actually calling out a particular major news outlet he abhors, center-right speakers continually being banned from speaking at (supposedly) open-minded, liberal, diversity-loving, tolerant educational institutes of higher learning. This is unprecedented and unbearably tragic.
Putin just wants to accrue all power and money to himself. Sadly, he is almost certain to be “re-elected” in 2018, in part due to “constitutional” changes he engineered. Some in Russia like that he is making Russia strong again. Like most people- and governments- around the world, the only thing he respects is strength. Putin has portrayed himself as “a leader with no alternative.” Even those who hate him admit that there is no one else.
That is sad and speaks of a defeated people. A people who certainly aren’t capable of bringing back democracy on their own.
Yet, there is a potential alternative.
If the people of the United States, themselves faced with a Presidential election in 2016, select as President a person who truly believes in liberty- as the Founders did- and is committed to projecting that belief with strength and will- as President Reagan did- then there may be hope yet for all of us.