Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Speaking of "framing"...

Unfortunately I don't have the time to blog extensively. Again. Just wanted to highlight two news stories I came across today: both indicative of "framing wars"; both, obvious "counter-public diplomacy" efforts by each of the sides. Interestingly enough, both of these pieces provide context for each other... and perhaps both should be viewed with the "Bout extradition issue" in mind.

The first one is from NPR's Morning Edition, and discusses the state of "democracy" in Ukraine: "Ukraine's President Blamed For Derailing Democracy." You can listen to the podcast on their webpage. Here are some excerpts from the transcript:


It seemed that a former Soviet Republic had chosen its own future when the Orange Revolution swept through Ukraine six years ago. U.S. and European leaders applauded when Ukrainians poured into the streets demanded democracy. Now, as NPR's David Greene reports, that nation's story has swung back the other way.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

DAVID GREENE: These were thought to be the sounds of a country writing the final chapter of a painful history. From Soviet rule to open democracy and integration with Europe. The Orange Revolution brought leaders who spoke of freedom and hope. That storyline has been derailed.

This past February, Ukrainians elected a president named Viktor Yanukovich. Join NATO? No way, he said. The Orange Revolution - he called that a failure. And these days, journalists complain of pressure to drop stories the government doesn't like. Yanukovich has also brought Ukraine into a new friendship with its eastern neighbor, Russia. Where's that revolutionary spirit?

Mr. RICHARD WIKE (Pew Research Center): You've seen a waning in confidence in democracy in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region.

GREENE: Richard Wike is associate director of the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. And just before Yanukovich was elected, Wike polled people in former Soviet and Eastern bloc countries. The results were dramatic. In places like Poland and former East Germany, people celebrated democracy and capitalism - not in Ukraine, where only one in 10 said political changes in the post-Soviet era have benefited ordinary people. Some of Wike's questions had also been asked just after the 1991 Soviet collapse, such as: What do you prefer, a strong leader or a democratic system?

Mr. WIKE: And the number of people saying a strong leader has gone up notably in Ukraine over the last two decades. So people still want democratic freedoms and institutions. But I think they've lost some of their confidence about the ability of democracy to solve their problems.

GREENE: If the 2004 Orange Revolution was supposed to begin the era of democracy, the political chaos and the economic woes that followed only gave Ukrainians fresh doubts about a more open political system.


Gilenko is 53 years old, a grizzled unemployed factory worker. He's no fan of his president. Still, he said, give Yanukovich some time, to see if deeper economic ties with Russia might start helping ordinary people. Gilenko remembers those cold nights in Kiev, calling out for democracy.

Mr. GILENKO: (Through Translator) People were united for the first time, and probably the last time. I took part in that revolution, and it let us down. People expected after the Orange Revolution, that milk and honey would flow over the land.

GREENE: The drive for democracy, overwhelmed by disappointment with the most recent experiment. It's not unlike what you hear from Russians, who recall chaos under Boris Yeltsin after the Soviet collapse. Many Russians say they never want to try that again.


Ms. SARAMAKA: (Through Translator) People today are just indifferent towards those in power. There's so much disappointment here. And nobody is sure where we're headed. But I believe one of those moments will come again.

GREENE: If another democratic revolution comes, those leading it will have their chance to win over a skeptical audience."

And as if in response, today evening Russia Today TV started what it called a series of reports on American policy of "democracy promotion" around the world:

And an interview that followed...:

Very funny to watch. But also worrisome. Long live the Cold War...?!


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