Jul 192007

Good call by Bret Stephens of the WSJ in his article, For the Sake of One Man.

It’s about the fuss Britain is making (for which it deserves our thanks and praise) over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko:

What matters, rather, is nicely captured in a remark by Russian foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin regarding Britain’s decision to expel the four diplomats. “I don’t understand the position of the British government,” Mr. Kamynin said. “It is prepared to sacrifice our relations in trade and education for the sake of one man.”

That’s a telling remark, both in its substance and in the apparent insouciance with which it was made: The whole architecture of liberal democracy is designed primarily “for the sake of one man.” Not only does Mr. Kamynin seem unaware of it, he seems to think we are unaware of it. Perhaps the indulgence which the West has extended to Mr. Putin’s regime over the past seven years gives him a reason to think so.

And I would say that not only are we somewhat responsible for creating an atmosphere in which Vlad Putin feels he can get away with his repression of the media, but it works the other way around, too. The more he can get away with, the more it creates a comfort zone for those in the U.S. who want to use the Fairness Doctrine or hate crime laws to quell dissidents’ voices.