Saturday, November 01, 2014

About That Rule of Law You Want

Ukraine needs to greatly reduce corruption to join the West (well, that and a military strong enough to deter Russian conquest). The irregulars who fought Putin's legions in eastern Ukraine are a little confused about the whole rule of law thing.

If you want to move Ukraine to the West and get rid of corruption, you have to promote rule of law rather than threaten it.

This is not rule of law:

Vitaliy Feshchenko, one of thousands of Ukrainian volunteers fighting pro-Russian rebels, has this message for government leaders back in the capital Kiev: his battle-hardened men might come for them next.

The bearded fighter's warning illustrates the lack of trust Ukraine's young revolutionaries have in President Petro Poroshenko and other politicians promising to drag their country from a corrupt, post-Soviet past into a European future. ...

A peaceful, pro-democracy protest in 2004 on Kiev's Maidan Square toppled Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych, but led only to bitter disappointment and Yanukovych's return. So this February, huge crowds once more braved the cold and riot police on Maidan to topple the government and demand reform -- and now their greatest fear is being let down yet again.

Democracy is not a big vote, a party, and iPads for everyone! And "reform" doesn't consist of a system where outside coup leaders set deadlines.

It's a process that allows--over time--the will of the people to be translated into government policy. Winners operate within rules that all agreed to, and losers know that they will continue to have the freedom to make their case to voters that their path is better.

So this "coup" talk by those who fought against Russian domination of Ukraine is just a version of Putin's Russia.

And if the game in Ukraine is a game of thrones among autocrats, Russia can play that game better than anyone.

We need people in Ukraine to help Ukraine understand what democracy means in practice and get these hot heads to focus their ire on creating rule of law and working within that democratic system.