EDITORIAL: Dictators get lesson in power politics
LAST YEAR ON THIS PAGE we expressed concern over recent developments during the Arab Spring in what we had called “street democracy”, which has invariably led to greater instability in most of the countries that managed to overthrow rogue regimes.
In this vein we are watching developments in Venezuela and Ukraine which threaten to destabilise both countries. It is probably safe to say that few had expected the fall of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to come so soon.
Though the growing turbulence and coalescence of interests had suggested he would have been pressured to leave office, the power surrender agreement signed under the mediation of European envoys meant that the ouster, when it finally came, was no accident.
It reflected the full circle that arrogance has to come, wherein dictators get to learn their lesson in power politics. When the security officials refused to allow Yanukovych to fly out of Ukraine, the moment of truth had come for him.
With Yanukovych now looking for cover outside the capital Kiev, the second Orange Revolution has triumphed. The president abandoned his capital without a show of force, as many iron-fisted leaders have done throughout history when the writing is clearly on the wall.
He was deposed after parliament voted to remove him by a legally binding constitutional majority. Now the pace of events has seen former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko freed from jail, and the opposition mulling over a new draft constitution to create a new power balance in the country.
The European Union’s (EU) proactive diplomacy should come as a rude shock for Russia, which was busy concentrating on security affairs at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The development is indeed a huge setback for the Kremlin, which had propped up Yanukovych.
His exit wouldn’t necessarily result in a stable government. With a large number of political opponents at loggerheads, Ukrainians have a tough choice to make at the polls in May.
The situation in Venezuela also has to be watched carefully, having regard to its government’s paid advertisement in last WEEKEND NATION accusing the United States government of promoting destabilisation efforts there.
From his government’s uncompromising position towards the United States, as it expelled a number of diplomats last week and revoked CNN’s accreditation to that country, President Nicolas Maduro now believes that it is the right time for talks with Washington.
Maduro has since called for a meeting to put the “truth out on the table”. President Barack Obama had already extended an olive branch to the Latin American state in an effort to relieve the stress and stains of yesteryear’s cold war rivalry.
If this offer for talks is for striking a new understanding for the betterment of bilateral and regional relations, then it is most welcome.