Archive for the 'post-industrial bluegrass the vote' Category

Election in Ukraine

So it’s down to Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych. The gas princess and the thug. Technically speaking you could call Mrs. Tymoshenko the liberal candidate and Mr. Yanukovych the conservative one but such labels are misleading. So are their respective designations as “pro-Western” and “pro-Russian.” Both see EU membership as a goal. Mrs. Tymoshenko has hinted at NATO membership but unlike Georgia, Ukrainians are largely against this and seeing that Mrs. Tymoshenko is a populist above all else it’s unlikely she’ll try to push this issue too forcefully. And, believe it or not, I think it’s actually a good idea.

NATO has an important role to play tempering Russian influence over the former Soviet Union but I foresee Ukraine playing a key role in maintaining security and cooperation in Europe and and joining a U.S.?dominated military alliance would result more in just pissing Russia off than anything constructive. The Ukrainians are strong?willed people—not malleable like the Belarusians—so the danger of Finlandization is really not an issue.

So who’s it going to be? I really have no idea, it’s, as they say, “too close to call.” But my support is behind Yulia Tymoshenko all the way. But my exact reasons for that support are hard to explain. I’ll be the first to admit that part of Mrs. Tymoshenko’s allure is decidedly non?political. She has down pat that whole “Amazonia, Queen of the Slavs” look that intrigues men and empowers women. Not to mention the fact that she counts among her supporters real life Amazon Ruslana. And if I spoke Ukrainian I’d probably be able to also appreciate Mrs. Tymoshenko’s charismatic authority versus Mr. Yanukovych’s clunky turns of phrase. She’s definitely more experienced but that same experience, as prime minister during the recession, may be her downfall.

Honestly I don’t know what I’m going on about. The eastward march of the European Union cannot be stopped. Though corruption in Ukraine is a reality, it still pales in comparison to Central Asia. Either candidate would be good for Ukraine. Maybe they can form a coalition. Everybody will be happy. Well, everybody except Viktor Yushchenko.

Tymoshenko & Yanukovych

I just wanted to point out that despite many already existing Tymoshenko-Yanukovych images, I made this one all by myself, WITH THE MOST RECENT IMAGES. Yup.

Elections for the 18th Knesset

(Cross posted at Facebook and LiveJournal.)

So it seems fairly certain that there’s going to be a Likud victory. Now, if we’re lucky they will be able form a rainbow coalition with their traditional opponents, Kadima and Labor. Otherwise, Yisrael Beitanu will be the main coalition partner, which means Israeli politics will swing way to the right. Yisrael Beitanu, also known (mainly by me) as the “Fucking Crazy Party”, has been compared to the Nazis on occasion but I think that’s just journalists getting off on the irony of comparing a Jewish organization to a notoriously antisemitic one. However, Yisrael Beitanu is ultra-nationalistic and racist, which is bad news for any Arabs living in Israel or (especially) the Palestinian territories.

The funny thing is that it is Hamas and, by negligence, the rest of the Arab world, that has driven the Israeli public to such hawkishness. By their constant barrage of rockets, Hamas has brought this on. Now, I can see two possible explanations for this:

  1. Hamas just loves war. They love getting their jihad on and no peace process is going to stop them. Notably when the UN Security Council came up with a ceasefire proposal Hamas rejected it alongside Israel.

  2. The concept of a liberal democracy where people vote for the party that best represents their views instead of the party which they view as being least corrupt; this concept is so utterly foreign to Hamas that they are unaware of the influence they have on Israeli politics.

Now the Israeli blockade of Gaza is stupid, ineffective and wickedly damaging to Israeli credibility. Just take a look at Cuba and you’ll see how effective blockades are for inducing regime change. However, the term “Israeli blockade” is misleading because Egypt has been maintaining a blockade as well. You see, everyone hates Hamas. Especially the Arab countries. Egypt is willing to blockade Gaza in order to protect its citizens but is unwilling to take any further action. The governments of the Arab world avoid criticizing Hamas too much because they fear it might provoke an international Islamist uprising (cf. Mugabe and the African Union). So they choose to butt heads with Israel instead of Hamas. Better the devil you know.