Authoritarians of the world, unite: You have nothing to lose but your rigged elections

My landslide is bigger than yours!

My landslide is bigger than yours!

So, Russia is resisting G-8 condemnation of the Iranian government’s handling of the election and the post-election process.

What a surprise.

According to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “”No one is willing to condemn the election process, because it’s an exercise in democracy.”

And, compared to Russia, it was!  There was a viable opposition candidate who was allowed not only to get on the ballot, but to campaign, have access to the media and participate in televised debates.  That’s a far cry from the Three Stooges who “ran” against Medvedev in 2008 — and who debated each other, with Medvedev conspicuously absent.  Medvedev had the bigger landslide, 71% to Ahmadinejad’s 62% — but the latter figure is suspiciously similar to United Russia’s 65% win in the December  2007 elections.  The new formula for authoritarian regimes seems to be somewhere around two-thirds of the vote for the ruling party or its candidate.  Soviet-style figures of 99% won’t do for a “democracy,” even a “sovereign” one; on the other hand, two-thirds demonstrates that a convincing majority of the population backs the ruling party.


Filed under Dmitry Medvedev, Iran, Russia

6 responses to “Authoritarians of the world, unite: You have nothing to lose but your rigged elections

  1. yamantaka

    Since there’s no place at your blog to make a post about your Reason article “Russia Remains the Same”, I thought I’d post it here.

    You said: “no one has offered a plausible explanation of how it threatens Russia—considering it could not neutralize even 1 percent of Russia’s nuclear arsenal”. I have 1 comment and 1 question:

    Comment: This same logic can be applied even more effectively against the ABM system. In my view, no one has offered a plausible explanation as to how North Korea’s pathetic missile force (which does not even amount to 1% of America’s nuclear arsenal) is a threat justifying a massively expensive ABM system.

    Question: Let us say that, for whatever reason, there was a US decapitation first strike on Russia or a counterforce strike (meaning that most of Russia’s ballistic missiles would be taken-out, with a small percentage surviving). In that case, the ABM shield might be an appropriately-sized instrument for blocking Russia’s diminished retaliatory capacity. This means that the US would be able to launch a counterforce or decapitation strike with a reduced threat of a Russian response.

    You are correct that BY ITSELF, the ABM system wouldn’t be a threat to Russia. But it doesn’t exist by itself. It exists alongside the American capability of carrying-out a nuclear first strike. Does the Russian stance make a little bit more sense when viewed in this light?

  2. Thanks for the question, Yamantaka.

    My answer: Not really, since by every available estimate the missile shield installations in Eastern Europe could, at best, intercept about 0.01% of the Russian missiles directed at the U.S. In fact, Russians officially acknowledge this; their argument (and I don’t have the time to dig up links right now) is that the missile shield currently proposed could be the beginning of a global system of U.S. missile defense that, eventually, could neutralize Russian retaliatory capability. Of course, the obvious answer to that would seem to be that if the U.S. does proceed in that direction, Russia will always have a chance to object then.

  3. Andreyyy

    You missing the point completely, when talking only about ABM in Europe. Other parts of ABM system will be (theoretically) build in Alaska ans Asia. 10- 20 rockets in Europe is just right amount to stop Russian rockets flying from Europe after the Russian retaliation strike. Let’s say, 2000 rockets in Russia, 90-95% percent by the American attack. Russia has only 100-200 rockets and they are located in different Russian regions. Some of them would fly through the North Pole, some of them via Pacific ocean. Missiles in Poland and Czech Republic would neutralize the rest.
    The only argument of Americans on ABM is that “ABM doesn’t threaten Russia”. And we know the way Americans fullfil their international obligations. You should take into account military potentials and not words.

  4. “Theoretically” being the key word.

  5. I think the real argument that is not raised about the system is the snooping that it represents. It would enable U.S. radars in Poland and CZ, that are capable of tracking targets in outer space, to track aircraft in the European part of Russia. I can’t say that Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity listeners would sit too well with the Russians or the Chinese putting a radar in Cuba that could track Air Force One everytime it takes off from Andrews AFB. There is a basic question of reciprocity that folks like Cathy Young don’t seem to think is relevant anymore, since you know, every country has the right to choose its allies. If the Chavistas decide to bring in Russian advisors by the hundreds or thousands, are we going to regret making such stupid statements with respect to Georgia?

  6. Andreyyy

    You missed the point completely

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