When Is a Rose Not a Rose?

Editor’s Note: Deena Stryker joins FDL Book Salon on Aug 2nd to discuss Lunch With Fellini, Dinner With Fidel.

A soldier leans against a tank in Tahrir

Obama’s riddle: When is a coup not a coup?

You may be noticing the slightly confused expression on Obama’s face when he talks about the foreign affairs these days: he almost seems to be apologizing for contradictions that are obvious to even the most casual observers.

Here’s a sample:

What about a state’s right to hang on to territory?

France 24’s journalists were calling for Putin to recognize Petro Poroshenko as the legitimate president of Ukraine while knowing full well that even before the election he repeatedly declared his intention work with whoever was elected. Recently he noted that Poroshenko didn’t have blood on his hands (how long it will be possible to say that is not certain) and that he was ready to work with him. Putin emphasized that the Ukraine crisis had to be resolved through negotiations, which is what he says about every international conflict, as opposed to American leaders who invariably call for punitive measures and ‘leave no option off the table’.

Finally, there’s the issue of ‘killing one’s own people:’ Assad in Syria has been hammered relentlessly for this, although he is facing a foreign invasion; Egypt’s Al Sissi gets a pass. As for Poroshenko, he is doing the same in Eastern Ukraine, having declared he wanted the area ‘pacified’ before his inauguration, which is imminent! (At least he didn’t yell that they had to be ‘eliminated’ as two other presidential candidates, Right Sektor boss Dmitry Yarosh and Julia Timoshenko did.)

What all this boils down to is that if democracy is to political science what roses are to flowers, whatever its original attractiveness, when it fades, it doesn’t smell very good.

Photo by Sherif9282 released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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