A Bad Year for the Roses


People power: It's a nice way to bring down a government, but it gets annoying once you've established a regime of your own. I assume that's the thought process at work in the Republic of Georgia, where the president installed by 2003's Rose Revolution has declared a state of emergency, closed down TV stations, and violently repressed demonstrations. He says the opposition is all a Russian plot, but while Russia has certainly tried to influence events within its neighbor's borders, there's a lot more at work here than that. Radio Netherlands reports:

Former defence minister Irakli Okruashvili has accused the president of corruption and of being behind a number of political killings. A number of other prominent opposition leaders previously served in government - they resigned after clashing with the president - which makes it hard to accuse them of pro-Russian sympathies. Former foreign minister Salome Zurabishvili even went to Paris to assure French President Nikolas Sarkozy that the Georgian opposition supports President Saakashvili's foreign policy platform of developing closer ties with Europe and becoming a NATO member. Moscow is certainly not in favour of its former satellite state joining the NATO alliance.

Even if they were all secretly working for the Kremlin, of course, that wouldn't justify the general restrictions on civil liberties.

Speaking of states of emergency: If you missed the Center for Public Integrity's report this past May on U.S. aid to Pakistan, now would be a good time to review it.