Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Why we can't stand up to Putin

After years in the political wilderness, conservative political thought seems to be making something of a comeback in Britain. In the circumstances, the launch of the new magazine Standpoint could not have come at a more appropriate time.

If you have time to browse, it's worth reading Edward Lucas's piece about Putin's Russia. It goes a long way towards explaining why the West is unable to stand up to Russia, North Korea or Iran. During the cold war, both Reagan and Thatcher had the self confidence to defend western values. Today, we no longer know what we stand for. If you attack the lack of human rights in China or the lack of democracy in Russia, the likely response is "what about..." i.e. "What about Abu Ghraib" or "What about Guantanamo" - Western democracies have never been perfect, but we have always had an advantage when compared to non-democratic countries. To quote Edward Lucas:
When things went wrong in communist countries, you were powerless. In Western countries, you had a chance, either through politics, the law, or the media, to get something done about it.
We seem to have forgotten this basic fact.