TCS Daily


Russia Being Russia

By Richard S. Williamson - October 18, 2007 12:00 AM


In Warsaw, during the annual two week human rights meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia sought to crowd out civil society, support anti-democratic forces, and intimidate Europe. In other words, Russia acted as she normally does these days. And as head of the U.S. delegation to the Warsaw Conference, I sought to resist them at every turn. To paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, as Russia continues to tell lies about us, we will continue to tell the truth about them.

Thirty-two years ago the Helsinki Final Act was signed by 35 nations. Due to the new map of Europe and Central Asia, the OSCE's membership has grown to 56 countries stretching from Vladivostok to Vancouver. Over the years each OSCE participating state has committed themselves to a wide range of standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

During the Cold War, the Soviets and others in the communist block simply ignored their obligations. But refuseniks and other dissidents found it useful to challenge their governments on the human rights standards they had pledged to support but ignored in practice. For those in power in totalitarian communist regimes the OSCE commitments were an annoyance but not a major impediment.

However, as Russia has pursued its authoritarian drift in recent years, these OSCE obligations have proven intolerable. OSCE field missions and election observer missions have contributed to Georgia's Rose Revolution, Ukraine's Orange Revolution and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan. In other words, the OSCE has helped democrats in these Near Abroad countries advance the March of Freedom.

So for 4 years, Moscow has sought to weaken the OSCE; centralize control of field missions and render election observer missions impotent. Moscow has tried to redefine commitments on human rights, democracy and the rule of law so they would be meaningless. Russia is supported by Belarus and Central Asian authoritarian regimes in this quest. And Moscow seeks to bully European capitals, many dependent on Russian oil and gas, into acquiescence. For Russia, at the OSCE, black is white, war is peace, and commitments are for selective convenience. And just as Putin has done in Russia, Moscow seeks to crowd out civil society at the OSCE.

At the latest session, Russia tried to exclude the Russia-Chechen Friendship Society, a Russian non-governmental organization long critical of government policy in Chechnya. This organization was the 2003 laureate of the International Helsinki Commission. As has happened to over 2,300 Russian NGOs, after years of persecution, the organization was shut down by the government. When the Russian delegates' efforts at OSCE exclusions failed, they walked out of the Warsaw meeting when the Russia-Chechen Friendship Society was recognized to review the particulars of Russia's failures.

A leader of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, Oksana Chelysheva, told me about growing repression at home. She said, "The Russian authorities are very concerned by the tendency of people to get united in civil society. The Kremlin is not doing something real in combating terror in Russia. They use the anti-terrorism and extremism laws to stir up fear and then target individuals. The Police Special Department to combat extremism tries to fabricate criminal charges. We have become targets. They target us to send a message to others. ...The Kremlin's over-reaction shows they are not so secure. They fear the people. There is a saying, "When the wolf is wounded he can bite a lot."

Oksana went on to say, "At some time it is our duty to raise these issues, to speak up for those people falsely arrested and against the greater repression that is coming. This OSCE meeting is important because it is the only place we can be heard." She told me, "The authorities do feel concern by the opinion of the outside world."

As Genrikh Reznik, Chairman of the Moscow Bar Association told me over lunch, "Russia's assault on the OSCE proves that OSCE criticism makes them uncomfortable."

No government is perfect. A number of American and International NGOs criticized the United States and our closest allies. Every government has room for improvement.

But for a democracy to exist there must be guardrails such as the rule of law which limit government power and allow for a rambunctious, vibrant civil society.

In Warsaw I said the United States "remains concerned that actions such as the effort to bar RCFS from this session are symptoms of a much broader negative trend with respect to democracy and democratic institutions within Russia. We are concerned about the misapplication of the law on extremism and the law on terrorism to limit legitimate NGOs and their activities. The increasing pressure on Russian journalists is likewise troubling. Actions to suppress genuine opposition, abridgement of the right to non-violent protest, constriction of civil society, and the decline of media freedom are all serious setbacks. They are inconsistent with the Russian Federation's OSCE commitments to building and preserving the foundations of a democratic state."

The next tests for Russian democracy will be the Duma elections in December and the Presidential election in March 2008. Will Moscow allow international election observers - OSCE and others - to judge whether the election is free and fair?

Why does Russia's authoritarian drift matter to us?

First, it should be of concern because, as Ronald Reagan said, "Liberty is not just for the lucky few, but the inalienable right of all mankind."

Second, enduring partnerships are based on shared values. As Russia retreats from respect for human rights and anti-democratic forces gain, the U.S./Russia relationship becomes increasingly difficult.

Third, as events in Warsaw and elsewhere demonstrate, Russia is not content to let authoritarian forces gain just at home. Moscow seeks to advance anti-democratic forces elsewhere. Moscow seeks to strengthen its influence by supporting authoritarians in its neighboring states. Meanwhile, they try to crowd out the universal values to which all people are entitled and to which Russia and all 56 OSCE participating states have committed.

So in Warsaw we pushed back. America and our closest allies must continually resist Russia's authoritarian drift. Our self interest should lead us to do so. And our commitment to those oppressed must compel us to do so.

As Dzmitry Markusheuski of the Belarus Helsinki Commission said to me, "The position of some governments should be stronger. It's not a request for kindness. It's a demand for governments to live up to their commitments."

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57 Comments

Democracy in action
It's a funny thing about democracy in Russia. Presumably we have plenty, while they have none. Yet in our two party system, increasingly half the population supports the president while the other half can't stand him, and nearly everyone reports a lack of confidence in government institutions.

While in Russia, 85% of the people love V Putin and want him to be their autocrat. They have lots of parties in their system, but hardly anyone votes for any of them but Putin's recommended selections. Yabloko, for instance, which is a pro-Western liberal party, gets maybe 3 or 4% of the vote on its best day.

So which system best reflects the wishes of the almighty public?

obviously, the best system is the one where the communists win
at least that's roy's view of the world

one can't forget, that in both contries, the news media is controlled by the far left
...

Putin actually does the things the left accuses Bush of. Putin the love, Bush they hate.
You can always count on the far left to cut one of their own some slack.

And as we speak,
Former KGB bigwig Putin is openly courting president Amadjihadist of Iran, talking ardently about a renewed Cold War, and publicly trotting out the tired old nonsense about the United States having invaded Iraq to steal its oil.

Same ol', same ol', Comrade Beanie.

I keep forgetting what an ignorant dunce you are
Maybe you didn't get the memo. Communism fell, back in 1991. The Soviet Union no longer exists.

In today's Russia, the current Communist Party, under Gennady Zyuganov, is expected to carry less than ten percent of the vote. Much less, probably.

communism fell, but's adherents keep trying to bring it back
that's why you support them whenever you can find them.

Misconceptions
1. The subject was democracy in action. Putin is tremendously popular among Russians. Bush, not so among Americans.

You make the call. Which one is the more democratic choice? The one the people stand behind, or the fully discredited lame duck?

2. Putin? On the far left? You have a lot to learn. He's a pragmatic autocrat and a Russian patriot. But he does not represent any great need for the state to own any of the means of production. That all ended years ago.

It's amazing how vigorously roy defends popular choice, when the people choose right
when they don't. The people are ignorant dunces and they can't be trusted.

roy actually believes that being an autocrat means one can't also be a communist.

Russia and Iran
Naturally you assume the whole OSCE business has nothing to do with our encirclement of Russia with nuclear armed bases. Just because we are ringing Russian territory with bases planned in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Turkey, Georgia and hopefully Azerbaijan, what could Russia possibly have to worry about?

It's not like Russian nuclear sites were being planned in Cuba, Bermuda, Mexico and Newfoundland. That, of course, would somehow be different. Right?

What we're doing with such an inept foreign policy is driving people into alliance against us. First we threaten Iran. Next we threaten Russia. Then we're all surprised as hell when they get together to resist our aggression.

China is also a part of this new alliance. And sure enough, we're doing everything we can to alienate and alarm China. Plus, India has just gone over from our camp to a neutral position.

You fellows are some brilliant thinkers.

Government: direct or representative?
Consistently, I've always been the one here to advocate democracy, in the sense of a government led by the people and for the people. You and marjon have been the ones adamant that instead we should have a republic, where the people's wishes are trumped by those of some ruling elite.

It is also the cae, of course, that the voters have been bred for ignorance, and can't reliably be counted on now to understand our political situation. Better institutions would improve that sorry state immensely.

"roy actually believes that being an autocrat means one can't also be a communist."

Again, outline the ways in which Putin has pursued a program of state ownership of the means of production. He has taken over the media networks for political reasons (as have the corporations in our own country). And he has taken back outfits like Gazprom from instant owners who became too politically involved. But Russia is no longer a collective enterprise. The pensioners have all lost their pensions. The current state, in contrast to the old USSR, supports no one other than those in power. And somehow, people love it.

Here's an example of an autocrat-- indeed a despotic and murderous dictator-- who was also a communist: Mengistu Haile Mariam. Remember him?

being Russia
Don't you just hate it when strong, rich countries act like strong rich countries always do? That's all Russia is doing, just like America, and before Britain and France etc. But instead of all this preaching about, 'creep towards authoritariansism' and bullying and stuff, why not live by example? So the States itself should try to become LESS authoritarian, and have MORE freedom, to be a good example to everybody.
But on the point of Putin being popular, don't forget that the state there also has an advantage on the propaganda too, so just like in the States, people there calmour for statism, nannyism and such. How often we see guys on this forum demanding more Big Government?

"I keep forgetting what an ignorant dunce you are,"
the Beanie Baby says into the mirror as he brushes his teeth and combs his hair in the morning.

Roy cries out for an "elitest" culture, then says elites should not be the leaders.
"I've always been the one here to advocate democracy, in the sense of a government led by the people and for the people."

Well, besides the fact that that is a highly questionable statement, if that is what you believe then it only proves how stupid you are, since democracy is the tyranny of mediocrity.

"You...have been the ones adamant that instead we should have a republic, where the people's wishes are trumped by those of some ruling elite."

Not only do you have a pathetically poor understanding of what a Republic is, you clearly want the Constitution of the United States burned and a new Socialist regime installed. The United States IS a Republic, it is NOT a demonocracy. Get over it.

Leaders are supposed to LEAD, dimwit. If the people just elect other people who are just like themselves, how can their be any leadership? Leadership IS an "elite" trait. Just like genius, relatively few people possess it. That does not make them worthless; it just means they should not be leading. As our current government demonstrates with flying colors.

"I do not wish to give the people what they want. I wish to give the people BETTER than what they want."
~ Senator W.B. Yeats of the Irish Parliament, ca. 1926.

They know what's good for us
You confidently assert "democracy is the tyranny of mediocrity." Is this not a highly elitist statement?

When have I ever said something like that-- that we should be ruled by a small number of our betters?

It's the classic idea that we know better than you, what's good for you. As exemplified in your quote from Yeats.

Among other comments I could make, nothing could be further from the libertarian ideal, which is that no one knows better what's good for ME than me. And that government should butt out of our business.

I'm hardly a libertarian, so I would add "...unless I invite them in to work for me".

The bases in E Europe are anti-missile, not nuclear.
Defensive in nature, wh is this a threat? In fact, they are being proposed, not due to Russia but Iran.

Were not proposing first strike capability. This is the same crap we heard when Reagan placed missiles in Europe. Wrong then wrong now.

Huh?
A Republic is not the ruling elite, it is a government that the people can disolve if needed. We could use a little Republic right now given the useless crooks we now have. Especially the democrats and liberal republicans.

A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president.
A nation that has such a political order.

A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
A nation that has such a political order.
often Republic A specific republican government of a nation: the Fourth Republic of France.
An autonomous or partially autonomous political and territorial unit belonging to a sovereign federation.
A group of people working as equals in the same sphere or field: the republic of letters.

Better than we are
"It's the classic idea that we know better than you, what's good for you. As exemplified in your quote from Yeats."

Like Pelosi, Reid and Hillary, AKA Liberals?

It's allowed in a democracy
"Like Pelosi, Reid and Hillary, AKA Liberals?"

I believe those people represent a constituency. And when last I heard, it was permissible under our system for them to speak up.

Not quite coherent
You appear to be in need of sleep. Your answer makes no sense.

Statements like "A nation that has such a political order." are not even sentences.

Give it another try.

Missiles in Cuba
Your answer is disingenuous.

Turn it around. If it were Russia, or China, putting "strictly defensive" missiles in Cuba, you would not be deceived. Neither country would have actual defensive purposes there, any more than we might have in Poland.

And it would be abundantly apparent that at a moment's notice, in a crisis, we would decide to put nuclear tips on our defensive missiles, to "defend" ourselves actively, under our announced doctrine of pre-emptive strikes.

Putin's popularity
"But on the point of Putin being popular, don't forget that the state there also has an advantage on the propaganda too, so just like in the States, people there calmour for statism, nannyism and such."

People in Russia are not getting any nannyism from the government... although they badly need some. In most parts of the country people are actually malnourished. Health care is abysmal, there is no social safety net and life is hard and unrelenting.

Nonetheless they have a very real enthusiasm for Putin, as they once did for Stalin. Not because either was a communist (neither was) but because they projected an image of Russia as a contender: a superpower equal to any other on earth.

Propaganda was not required to create such a condition. That's the way a majority of Russians think.

no roy, you haven't been consistent
you are very, very, adamant about the rights of people to have whatever they want and have the power to take. But only when you agree with the people.

elitists
liberals believe that they are morally, intellectually, emotionally, superior to those who live around them, and are therefore entitled to run the lives of everyone else.

Reality is insufficient a force to break through the shell of their egos.

roy finds anything that gets in the way of a communist takeover, to be highly offensive
...

Putin
Yeah, they don't expect all the freebies of the US, but they do clamour for the strong-man nanny. And the government dominates the media, and the schools where the the pro-goveernment propaganda is constant, just like in the states. So the result is that people think it's good to have authoritarianism, the state bullying people around, etc. just like the States. So they think like that because of the inculcation, they've never been allowed to be free, never have been, never got even neer it. But your answer is nannyism like say, Social Security, food stamps, promises of a free meal ticket for unwed mothers, members of parlement using tax funds for pork barrel projects to buy votes. Maybe too, you want them to pay farmers not to grow food, have protectionism on ineficient industries, subsidise ethanol, etc.

Precisely, dbt,
and those people that a Republican body elects to lead its members are supposed to have a little more wisdom, a little more insight, etc, than the average person. Just as America's Founding Fathers, in general, possessed.

The true "elites" are NOT the "elite" of today. Today's "elites" are what Thomas Jefferson warned against, people he called "the artificial aristocracy"; people who BUY their way into positions of power and then SELL people on ideas only motivated by the desire to perpetuate their careers of almost untouchable power instead of leading the people to better things.

As always, Beanie Baby totally twists the point.
Yeats wanted nothing at all to do with the government running people's lives. That was precisely his point. If he were alive today he would despise the U.S. Democratic party without reservation.

"The people", in case you have not noticed, are always clamoring, in general, for more and more handouts, legislation of morality, etc. All such things that do themselves damage.

Yeats, who was an Irish nationalist and worked very hard to make Ireland free from English domination, wanted "the people" to HAVE more and BE CONTROLLED less.

He spoke and acted as a leader. Not as one of the blind leading the blind, as Beanie Baby thinks a "democracy" should be.

This must be one of your special definitions
What exactly do you consider commubnism? Is this just your private word for "something very bad"?

Putin has some definite ideas as to how to build a strong Russia. But none of them, that I can see, have anything to do with communism.

There is no one-party rule.

There is both state ownership and private ownership of the means of production. Foreign investment, for instance, is still very high in Russia.

There is no ideology, no collective activity and no welfare state. No one is pushing anything down anyone's throat. The fact is, politics are fairly free-- and the democratic party is just very unpopular there. It's even less popular than the Communists, who are still a legal party, but not a very big one.

There is certainly autocracy. But that and communism are certainly not synonymous.

Please spell out for us the ways in which you find a return to communism.

No Subject
Maybe the problem is that you and I don't really speak the same language.

The Yeats quote, for instance, was "I do not wish to give the people what they want. I wish to give the people BETTER than what they want."

And to me, this is an explicit statement that he thinks he knows better what's good for people than they do themselves. There's no other way you can interpret those words. So I said that that was an elitist thing to say. And I could have added anti-democratic.

To me, the best thing you can give people is exactly what they say they want. Then if they like what they get, you're the most popular leader in history.

And if they don't, you've just educated them. They know they no longer want that. LBJ, for all his faults, was a master at giving people what they wanted. He followed the polls very closely, and only went wrong listening to bad advice on the war.

Next, the comment that follows seems to me to be seriously confused:

"The people", in case you have not noticed, are always clamoring, in general, for more and more handouts, legislation of morality, etc. All such things that do themselves damage."

I think you're simplifying a complicated political picture, and confusing different sorts of people.

If you haven't noticed, Americans are divided virtually 50-50 on whether they are Democrat or Republican. So there really is no such thing as "the" people.

Very few are "clamoring for more handouts". Most feel that welfare is better reformed (i.e. limited) than it was before the reforms. And most feel very strongly that we should get large corporations off the welfare rolls. But an overwhelming number of Americans feel the thing they get back from the government in trade for paying all those taxes is a strong social safety net. That's why the right wing wack jobs will never get anywhere trying to destroy programs like Social Security. It's the most popular thing government does.

As for the legislation of morality, that's an ENTIRELY different set of people. Those are the Christian, social conservatives speaking. The ones that want abortion made illegal, prayer in the schools, gays back in the closet with no rights, and so forth. They are at the far end of the spectrum from liberals.

In other words I'm for more precise speaking. And I think that a government that ignores what its people tell it they want from it is a dictatorship.

Let's try it like this
I would agree with anyone who said that a government should listen to its own people, and either try to give them what they say they want or explain to them adequately why they can't have it. That is acting like a democracy.

As for this whole notion of "taking" you've got your head screwed on backwards. People demand services. Services cost money. And people understand they have to pay taxes to get those services.

This is why the Libertarian Party will never be anything more than a tiny splinter group. Everyone sees them as being wack jobs. Everyone.

Look at government the way you would look at the insurance industry. No one particularly likes paying their insurance premiums. But they do, because they need the service. If there were no insurance industry we'd have to invent one in a hurry, because people demand being covered by insurance.

Just like they demand Medicare-Medicaid and Social Security. And student loan guarantees, and housing loan guarantees, and federal deposit guarantees. They think all those things are worth the money they pay in-- and they think so very strongly.

Stark raving lunacy
You might want to stay off the sauce while you're typing. This stuff is just spouting off, and doesn't make sense on any level.

"people think it's good to have authoritarianism, the state bullying people around, etc. just like the States"

"So they think like that because of the inculcation, they've never been allowed to be free, never have been, never got even neer it."

"But your answer is nannyism like say, Social Security, food stamps, promises of a free meal ticket for unwed mothers, members of parlement using tax funds for pork barrel projects to buy votes. Maybe too, you want them to pay farmers not to grow food, have protectionism on ineficient industries, subsidise ethanol, etc."

lunacy
Why, you yourself are always advocating for more authoritarianism around here? And we regularly read people here saying how there should be even bigger goverment and less freedom.

let's try demanding services
That's the idea, propagandize, get them used to a nanny state, make problems then say that only the government has the solutions. They are like a guy who breaks your leg, then gives you a crutch, and says, see without us to help you, you couldn't even walk. People didn't rise up and demand taxes, and the FED, and fractional reserve banking, or even the gulag school system either.

Buncha communists!
These ideas need no propaganda. Social Security has been a popular program since it started. Who wouldn't like a managed savings plan where you put aside an affordable portion of your income, got a guaranteed monthly check on your retirement, and the program only had an overhead of one percent for maintenance? The idea sells itself.

I would also invite you back into the country you've turned your back on, to give talks to the citizens on why we should dismantle our publc school system, and just let parents teach their kids in their spare time. I'm sure your little pep talks will have a galvanizing effect on everyone.

That;'s just your delusion
No, you don't see anyone in here advocating bigger government and less freedom. Nor have you seen me advocate more authoritarianism. That's just what you've talked yourself into seeing.

Look. People like you, marjon and the rest of the extremists here have a set of reinforcing, persistent delusional beliefs. When you express them just as beliefs, fine. Everyone's beliefs look a little odd to someone else. But where you cross the line is where you allow them to color the evidence.

Then you think you've seen things you really haven't. Like me, advocating authoritarianism and being against freedom.

delusions
Sure, you don't come out and say you want authoritariansism, the same way nobody will come out and say they love PCism, no sociaist will say they love control of people, no liberal will actually say they are socialists, But guys like you advocate policies that mean that, and I keep pointing out examples of your 'big government statism all the time. But I will readily admit that I'm an extremist for freedom.

you said it, I didn't
They certainly do need propagand for EVEN the SS system. Anybody who knows anything about investing knows they can do better than that dysfunctional system. In fact, I've read that the congress actually has a different system, but only for itself. And you only mentioned that one example, SS, sounds like you concede they had to bring in the FED by steal, and it's common anyway for governments to lie in order to gain more power that normally people would never go for, like income taxes too. But the country I turned my back on is in the old country, not the states. And even over there, now that the commies are out, they're getting more sensible and having low, flat taxes and low business taxes and such, better than the states which is going more backwards.
And even re the gulag schools in the US, isn't it true that private schools are growing? Arent there more charter schools? Also more home shooling? And I know for sure that even many politicians who in public like the gulag schools, actually send their own kids to private ones, right?

*Yawn*
Tell me zee old, oldztory...
Tellamezee...
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

The definition of insanity
is to keep doing, or advocating doing, the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

Political parties aside...
No matter which political party (and its philosophies) the leaders of any government claim to be guided by...the actual behavior of any government regarding its own civil population is the central question.

We have a sham-democracy, two-party republic...the Russians have many opposition parties but only one ruling party...the Chinese do not even bother themselves with any such pretense regarding democracy. And that probably saves them lots of time.

In the Philippies we have a very open democratic process and a terrible, weak central government is the direct result. Democracy itself is not much involved in making things better.

The executive branch of any central government is strictly hierarchical and there is simply no democracyn there (in its decision-making process) at all once a government is installed.

If the Russian authoritarian methods of government are actually more effective than our own "mamby-pamby" behavior...then you can be certain that we will actually follow their lead rather than to force them to weaken their grip on their own society. China, for its part, has no sense of humor when it comes to civil disobedience.

We may have already seen the beginnings of a dramatic tightening down of our own government regarding civil liberties here in America...because our leaders might perceive that it simply works better to suit their purposes.

If the Gulag actually outperformed Silicon Valley...then America would have gone with that operational model too. Because we will remain competitive as a sovereign nation. Whatever seems (to them) to work. Even torture. Believe it. (Grow up.)

Sure, as long as they act in kind
But the left seeks to prevent dissent. Wrong thinking shall not be rewarded.

How about Finance reform and the Fairness Doctrine.

Poll Driven Government
Roy has stated he likes poll driven government. Government via American Idol.

Cut and Paste Hell
You claimed that a Republic was a government ruled by elites and nothing could be further from the truth.

Liberals are the ones who seek the ruling elite. Hillary is just such a example. Her recent insults about Mississippi are instructive.

Exactly
I am a proponent of voting all of them out and starting over. A little revolution is good once in a while.

Howeverf, as long as places like MA vote that useless tub Kennedy in over and over it is futile.

In fact, how people can vote for that windbag utterly escapes me.

Not everyone demands services
Roads, sewers, National Defense, sure. However, I am not demanding Medicare, SSI and such. In fact, I would like to see SSI privatized.

Not everyone demands something from their fellow man. They are constructs designed to create voting blocks. Roosevelt knew what he was doing.

America the Terrible
You say "grow up" as though I disagree with you. Actually I think your comment is right on the button.

I would disagree, though, that the US could devolve into a fully totalitarian National Security State, suspending all civil rights and employing torture and indefinite detention without due process on large numbers of citizens deemed a security risk. Right now they merely reserve the right to do that, laughing all the while at our accumulated body of law.

To suspend all the civil liberties we're used to, they need to instill fear in us. And despite Cheney's desperate cheerleading, we've shown that we just can't sustain the necessary level of constant fear.

Maybe if they permit more 9/11s. Do you suppose that's why he's so impatient to bomb Iran before 2008?

Misquote
"Cut and Paste Hell" refers to nothing in either your comment or mine.

Your statement "You claimed that a Republic was a government ruled by elites" is incorrect. I never said that or implied that. And I don't believe it-- in the sense that it moght be any more prone to rule by an elite than any other form.

What I've said, many times, is that the government that acts least like an elite is the one that listens to its people. And puts policies into place that they approve of.

Cut and Paste Hell II
My comment was in error due to cut and paste oversights. Sorry.

Yes I agree about elites. However you post derided Republics and I was correcting you error. Either that or I grossly misunderstood your point.

NATO
As memerbs of NATO we are obligated to defend member states. A anit-missile system is defensive. I see no beef. You don't just change tips on anti-missile missiles. It is not even possible. They are not designed for MIRV technology and are essentially kinetic weapons. Relax, they are design to save lives, not take them.

Funny how China launches new space weapons while deriding our anti-missile systems.

Of course if we mive back to the 1980's we see the same argument that US missiles in Europe will provoke the Soviets and start a arms race. In stead it provoked collapse and the fall of the Berlin wall.

I assume you see this as a good outcome?

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