Pookie Monster

Various things that you may not yet know about, but should.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I was right.

Vladamir Putin is what partisan Democrats only pretend President Bush is.

Short story long: Previously, Russia's legislature was split 50/50 in terms of the members' manner of election. Half were elected from districts, the way we do it, and half were elected by Russians nationwide voting for their party, in a proportional representation systemwhere the party has previously submitted a list of candidates. If the party gets enough votes for 20 seats in the parliament, the first 20 names on the list get in.

Putin's party is dominant in the proportional-rep system. He won reelection last March in a landslide. The local-district elections, along with the independent elections of provincial governors, provided balancing power centers which can serve as stepping-stones for the rise of an opposition party.

Vlad's new reform: The district elections are abolished. and the provincial governors are now appointed...by Vlad. This makes it more difficult for an opposition to break in and establishes loyalty to Putin among regional officials. The new centralization means that Putin is now an elected dictator.

Next, he'll decree campaign-finance laws.

This disturbs a lot of people. If Pu-poo head is as heavy-handed in his foreign policy as in his power grab (and let's face it, autocrats are not known for passive foreign policies), he could deal significant setbacks to the War on Terror by stirring up more hostility to the West (vide Grozny) - and you can bet that Islamist propagandists will blame America.

Likewise, if V.Pu is more concerned with his own grip on power than in fighting the WoT, he's unlikely to get on board for Bushite democracy promotion. That only retards our own fight.

Likewise, if Russia enters a new Imperial era, what do we do when our allies in New Europe who showed such loyalty in Iraq - Poland, the Baltics, and Ukraine, for example - call on us to help protect them from Russian adventurism? We can't French out and abandon them, but we can't afford an all-out war with the Ruskies.

So this is bad for us, and could get worse. And I don't see a blessed thing we can do to stop it.


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