Referendums... Plebiscites ...
20 March, 2014
Referendums... Plebiscites ...
Discontent prevails, dissatisfaction perseveres, displeasure persists, disgruntlement reigns and disapproval continues everywhere in the world. A sense of misery and desolation is more commonplace among humans than a feeling of bliss and delight – based on average global measurements. Not a single government of any country throughout history has ever performed to complete satisfaction of the governed. In this lovely world of direct, pure, representative, participatory, deliberative, mature, immature, partial, full, embryonic, developed or whatever sort of democracy, humans are
more angered, annoyed and irritated at the performance of their elected, imposed or hereditary rulers than pleased, content and happily settled.
As a matter of fact, a referendum that could be used as an instrument for probing into the people’s wish and will, concerning the way those countries are being ruled, might make sense to be held in any country of the world – rich and poor, democratic and totalitarian, Eastern or Western. But that hypothetic plebiscite may end up in a result, considered either fair or unfair. For one part of the participants in the polling process, the outcome could be wrong, for another it might be right and to a third one it may seem to be just inadequate. So the result of any referendum might be either good or bad for the society that has held the plebiscite. Even if the people’s will and wish was registered according to all existent rules and regulations, the talk about its falsification would persist for years to follow. Part of the voters would definitely say that the process was rigged. This might very well be a polling model in Georgia. This could also be a case in Crimea. The Crimean residents are voting, as we are writing this article, on whether it should be part of Russia or Ukraine. Whatever the result, the controversy will not end there. The stormy hullabaloo will carry on for a while, and we will all be lucky if it stops on the level of a verbal debate. The argument between Russia and Ukraine about that pretty piece of land in the Black Sea will be making the world news headlines for a very long time in the future. It would have been much easier if the bickering on the subject were only between the two Slavic belligerent brothers – the squabble has gone much wider and it has engulfed the entire planet. The problem is compounded by the presumption that any outcome of the Crimean plebiscite will only create a new additional hot spot of conflict in the world, which will later be frozen and remain that way for tens of years to come. One might ask: what else, if not a referendum? Is there any healthier political tool to solve the problem? Whatever the conclusion of the public effort to answer the complicated ballot question in Crimea, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine – hence between the West and the political satellites and adherents to Russia, if there are many left. Any predictable result of the referendum on the torn-apart peninsula will probably trigger the exacerbation of the Russian-Ukrainian overly strained relations. Retaliation of the West with promised economic sanctions against Russia cannot be everlasting either. For how long can you keep the Bear punished? Forever? Does the world want to have and tolerate the permanently infuriated, hungry, miserable, irate, depressed and despondent Russia? How can the world be a better place to live in with this kind of Russia? Or Ukraine? To suggest the way out of this quagmire is almost impossible right now. And it will be even more intricate after the Crimean plebiscite is finalized with any of the two presumable results – leave the disputed chunk of land untouched or let Russia repossess it. Incidentally, could Crimea’s belonging to various potentates at various times in history someday become an issue to embark on for even a hotter discussion worldwide? OK, let’s forget it for now! Who needs an extra headache right in the middle of the dispute with the potential of a new world war? The Crimean referendum is a tinderbox without that! We all know very well when wars happen. Does it smell like war there and now? Will the plebiscite with any possible result save the day for Russians, Ukrainians and the rest of us? I don’t think so. What could do a good job for all of us? How about brainstorming some political model, which would bring the conflicting sides to a position of strategic decision making? It might allow the continuation of an intelligent, fair and thoughtful talk, no matter how long it would take to arrive at an optimal decision for every interested side? And if this is not possible, would the world face the inevitable? Possibly! I only wonder why the wisdom to keep the earth in peace and bliss is not coming to us the humans. For how long are we going to stay on the level of medieval thinking when life as such was worth of one small peanut? If fratricide is in store for Russia and Ukraine, the world looks uglier than I had thought it was. What can I do with the damned situation if I love both of them – Russia and Ukraine, two beautiful lands and peoples? I hate to take sides. I want to see them talking . . . (It is now Sunday evening, and I need to stop writing – the referendum outcome is due only by tomorrow morning, and here we go . . . The Russians have Crimea! And Putin is a hero!) OK, let’s wait for the rest to come! The West either swallows this bitter pill or not. If it does, then it will turn Vladimir Putin into a world-size strong guy. If not, then beware, Russia!

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