TCS Daily

Freedom Bonuses: Welcoming Gifts for Ukraine

By James D. Miller - December 3, 2004 12:00 AM

The U.S. should bestow gifts on Ukraine if her people choose Western democracy over Soviet-style oppression. These gifts would provide incentives for other nations to join the United States in our fight for freedom.

The collapse of the Soviet Empire was supposed to end the ideological wars, but instead the U.S. finds herself in a global struggle against various tyrannies. We have seen in Iraq how costly it is to buy other's liberation with our soldiers' blood. It's far cheaper to win allies by inducing dictatorships to defect voluntarily to democracy.

For Machiavellian reasons our gifts to a free Ukraine should go not only to their struggling masses but also to the Ukrainian security forces and elites. Unfortunately, unarmed people cannot take freedom from a murderous army. If a nation's security forces are willing to kill they can always keep an entrenched cabal in power. Short of invasion, the only way that Vietnam, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China or Ukraine will ever become genuine democracies is if the elites and security forces in these countries are willing to let it happen. Consequently, if Ukraine does elect the pro-Western Viktor, the U.S. should see to it that the country's elites, police and army prosper so as to induce other nations to join us in freedom.

I therefore suggest that if the pro-western Viktor is elected the U.S. should see to it that Ukrainian soldiers get an immediate pay raise. We could accomplish this by paying the Ukrainian army a large sum to help us in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Imagine the effect this pay raise would have on a post-Castro Cuban army. After Castro dies there will no doubt be a struggle for power and direction in Cuba. If we give Ukrainian soldiers a "freedom bonus" then the Cuban officer class will suspect that if they successfully support a post-Castro democracy then they too will get an immediate pay increase. Dictatorships ultimately rely on the loyalties of their armies to stay in power. The U.S. should use a free Ukraine to send a signal to dictators' armies throughout the world that their self-interest lies in aligning themselves with democratic revolutionaries.

We should help the economic elites in a free Ukraine by giving them unfettered access to our markets. Indeed, if Ukraine achieves freedom by Christmas, President Bush should consider urging Americans to buy at least one made-in-Ukraine gift for the holidays as a way of welcoming Ukraine to the club of democracies.

A final gift to Ukraine could rectify two historical injustices. The permanent membership of the Security Council was supposed to be made up of the large nations that were on the winning side of World War II. We now know, that however, during the war the French were not as anti-Nazi as we were previously lead to believe. Furthermore, Soviet dominance prevented the Ukrainian people from getting sufficient historical credit for helping to defeat Hitler. Consequently, I propose that a democratic Ukraine be given France's permanent seat on the United Nation's Security Council.

James D. Miller writes The Game Theorist column for TCS and is the author of Game Theory at Work.


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