December 27, 2004

Orange Power

The Associated Press coverage of the apparent victory for Viktor Yushchenko in the Ukrainian elections Sunday described the contrast between the reactions of two candidates' supporters...

Elated opposition supporters flooded Kiev's Independence Square, the center of protests after the Nov. 21 election that was beset with fraud allegations and eventually annulled. Music blared from loudspeakers and fireworks lit up the sky. In Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's home base of Donetsk, the streets were largely empty, with only a few people stumbling home from the bars.

In a celebratory post at The Corner, Michael Ledeen observes...

It's a dramatic and important moment, and the winning forces of the "orange revolution" are right to talk about democratic revolution. Here is yet another case where the forces of repression seemed to have all the advantages, including the reconstituted KGB and the full, cynical, support of a nasty Russian tyrant. Yet freedom won.

For those of us who have long preached the power of democratic revolution, it's a happy day, and I hope that our leaders draw the appropriate lessons:

--The mild support we gave to the democratic forces in the Ukraine proved far more powerful than most of the experts expected. The revolutionaries required a bit of guidance in the methods of non-violent resistance, a bit of communications gear, and many words of encouragement. They did the rest. The same can and should be done elsewhere in the world (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea...)

--Our democratic values are shared by the overwhelming majority of the people in the world, and are rejected, sometimes violently, by tyrants and their followers. We need to stick to our principles, which means that we cannot blindly and compulsively support all the policies of individual anti-democratic leaders just because they help us...

--You can't always see the revolutionary forces inside oppressive countries, but, given a chance, they will emerge more often than not. We are the most successful revolutionary society in history, we have to stand with our people, everywhere...

...The "age of the second democratic revolution," which began with the death of Franco and continued through the fall of the Soviet Empire, is still very much with us. The cynical and exhausted leaders of France, Germany, and post-Aznar Spain don't believe in it, but they are increasingly irrelevant to world affairs.

A great day for freedom. If we do not flag, we'll have many more in the near future. (ellipses mine - Ed.)

Posted by dan at December 27, 2004 12:39 AM