Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Wit and Wisdom of Robert Gates

On the prospects for homegrown democracy in Russia, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates had this to say in a recent interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:

" takes time to build the institutions of democracy. Just having an election doesn't mean you have a democracy. So these institutions have to grow. And you're looking at a country in Russia that in a thousand years of its history has not had a democracy. So my view is, I think we need to encourage the development of freedom in Russia, we need to encourage the development of democratic institutions, but also think we need to understand that those things take time."

Now I wonder why all that sage, practical thinking applies to the policies of his country's administration when it comes to Russia, but not when it comes to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran, where clearly the idea is to storm in, slap up polling booths, shove "democracy" down everyone's throat like an ipecac to induce the vomiting up of centuries of tradition, and then insist it's "mission accomplished" as you continue to dodge bullets and tiptoe through the minefields? Ah, yes, of course... because Russia has several thousand thermonuclear warheads, and those other countries don't.

Hmmm... and they say Iran is after the Bomb, is that right? Wonder why.

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