Anne Applebaum on the dangers of coddling Russian “democracy”:
The result is not only a distorted Russian-American relationship but a degrading of our own Western institutions and alleged ideals. Why should Iraqis listen when we talk about democracy if we don’t talk about democracy with President Bush’s best friend Vladimir? Why should Zimbabweans listen when we talk about human rights violations if we don’t apply the same standards to Chechnya? The White House has issued a few statements of mild distress about what was clearly an electoral farce. That’s fine, as long as we don’t mind if others don’t take us seriously in the future.
UPDATE: John Farren chimes in:
“Conciliate Russia. Ignore Germany. Punish France.”
Still a good formula, geopolitically.
(Add: “Cross fingers about China”)