Skip to comments.An Open Letter to the Heads of State and Government Of the European Union and NATO
Posted on 10/06/2004 2:18:34 PM PDT by RWR8189
As citizens of the Euro-Atlantic community of democracies, we wish to express our sympathy and solidarity with the people of the Russian Federation in their struggle against terrorism. The mass murderers who seized School No. 1 in Beslan committed a heinous act of terrorism for which there can be no rationale or excuse. While other mass murderers have killed children and unarmed civilians, the calculated targeting of so many innocent children at school is an unprecedented act of barbarism that violates the values and norms of our community and which all civilized nations must condemn.
At the same time, we are deeply concerned that these tragic events are being used to further undermine democracy in Russia. Russia's democratic institutions have always been weak and fragile. Since becoming President in January 2000, Vladimir Putin has made them even weaker. He has systematically undercut the freedom and independence of the press, destroyed the checks and balances in the Russian federal system, arbitrarily imprisoned both real and imagined political rivals, removed legitimate candidates from electoral ballots, harassed and arrested NGO leaders, and weakened Russia's political parties. In the wake of the horrific crime in Beslan, President Putin has announced plans to further centralize power and to push through measures that will take Russia a step closer to authoritarian regime.
We are also worried about the deteriorating conduct of Russia in its foreign relations. President Putin's foreign policy is increasingly marked by a threatening attitude towards Russia's neighbors and Europe's energy security, the return of rhetoric of militarism and empire, and by a refusal to comply with Russia's international treaty obligations. In all aspects of Russian political life, the instruments of state power appear to be being rebuilt and the dominance of the security services to grow. We believe that this conduct cannot be accepted as the foundation of a true partnership between Russia and the democracies of NATO and the European Union.
These moves are only the latest evidence that the present Russian leadership is breaking away from the core democratic values of the Euro-Atlantic community. All too often in the past, the West has remained silent and restrained its criticism in the belief that President Putin's steps in the wrong direction were temporary and the hope that Russia would soon return to a democratic and pro-Western path. Western leaders continue to embrace President Putin in the face of growing evidence that the country is moving in the wrong direction and that his strategy for fighting terrorism is producing less and less freedom. We firmly believe dictatorship will not and cannot be the answer to Russia's problems and the very real threats it faces.
The leaders of the West must recognize that our current strategy towards Russia is failing. Our policies have failed to contribute to the democratic Russia we wished for and the people of this great country deserve after all the suffering they have endured. It is time for us to rethink how and to what extent we engage with Putin's Russia and to put ourselves unambiguously on the side of democratic forces in Russia. At this critical time in history when the West is pushing for democratic change around the world, including in the broader Middle East, it is imperative that we do not look the other way in assessing Moscow's behaviour or create a double standard for democracy in the countries which lie to Europe's East. We must speak the truth about what is happening in Russia. We owe it to the victims of Beslan and the tens of thousands of Russian democrats who are still fighting to preserve democracy and human freedom in their country.
Urban Ahlin Madeleine K. Albright Giuliano Amato
Uzi Arad Timothy Garton Ash Anders Aslund
Ronald D. Asmus Rafael L. Bardaji Wladyslaw Bartoszewski
Arnold Beichman Jeff Bergner Joseph R. Biden
Carl Bildt Max Boot Ellen Bork
Pascal Bruckner Mark Brzezinski Reinhard Buetikofer
Janusz Bugajski Michael Butler Martin Butora
Daniele Capezzone Per Carlsen Gunilla Carlsson
Ivo Daalder Massimo D'Alema Pavol Demes
Larry Diamond Peter Dimitrov Thomas Donnelly
Nicholas Eberstadt Uffe Elleman-Jensen Helga Flores Trejo
Francis Fukuyama Jeffrey Gedmin Bronislaw Geremek
Carl Gershmann Marc Ginsberg Andre Glucksmann
Phil Gordon Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg
Istvan Gyarmati Pierre Hassner Vaclav Havel
Richard C. Holbrooke Toomas Ilves Bruce Jackson
Donald Kagan Robert Kagan Craig Kennedy
Glenys Kinnock Bernard Kouchner Jerzy Kozminski
Ivan Krastev William Kristol Girts Valdis Kristovskis
Ludger Kuehnhardt Mart Laar
Vytautas Landsbergis Stephen Larrabee
Mark Leonard Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
Tod Lindberg Tom Malinowski
Will Marshall Margarita Mathiopoulos
Clifford May John McCain Michael McFaul
Matteo Mecacci Mark Medish Thomas O. Melia
Sarah E. Mendelson Michael Mertes Ilir Meta
Adam Michnik Richard Morningstar Joshua Muravchik
Klaus Naumann Dietmar Nietan James O'Brien
Janusz Onyszkiewicz Cem Ozdemir Can Paker
Mark Palmer Martin Peretz Friedbert Pflueger
Danielle Pletka Florentino Portero Samantha Ravich
Janusz Reiter Alex Rondos Jim Rosapepe
Jacques Rupnik Eberhard Sandschneider
Randy Scheunemann Christian Schmidt
Gary Schmitt Simon Serfaty Stephen Sestanovich
Radek Sikorski Stefano Silvestri Martin Simecka
Gary Smith Abraham Sofaer James Steinberg
Gary Titley Ivan Vejvoda Sasha Vondra
Celeste Wallander Ruth Wedgood Richard Weitz
Kenneth Weinstein Jennifer Windsor R. James Woolsey
This is not 1914 or 1933 ... Albright & Co. would love to see european and americans parade though the streets announcing "breakfast in Moscou" ... this is 2004 - this time it's different
The who's who of bombing Christians and pandering to Islam. And with their pathetic records of the 90's they preach? This is like Carter lecturing Bush on failed presidencies...well Carter should know seeing what a mess he was and still is. Hypocrits.
What Putin is doing is kicking out the Soros and "human rightser" system from Russia, pure and simple!!!! NATO and Western Europe are MORTALLY SICK, and their disease is the cancer of "human rightserism"!!!! Putin is merely being a good surgeon and cutting the same cancer out of the body of Russia.
Our own America has this cancer, too, but it is relatively small and there is still time to cut it out without disrupting our traditional democratic insistutions (unless we make the mistake of electing Kerry/Soros). Let's do it!!!!
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