Is There Alternative to Engaging with Dictatorships?
Wall Street Journal published a piece called Obama’s Foreign Policy Paradox describing numerous challenges and problems the new American administration faces in its new approach to foreign relations that is, engaging with instead of teaching authoritarian countries. Matthew Kaminski quotes my skeptical comment to the (unintended) outcome of this policy:
How does the new image of America look from abroad? Not always the way Mr. Obama presumably intended. Human-rights activist Oleg Kozlovsky runs Oborona (Defense) in Moscow. “The political culture in authoritarian countries, at least in Russia, is such that if Obama looks for compromise, they won’t answer with good will,” he says. “They see you as weak and push for more. They see it as a carte blanche to repress their own people.” This applies as well to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. Perhaps not coincidentally, human rights are deteriorating most glaringly in countries currently deemed “strategic partners” of the U.S. such as China and Russia.
What do you think about Washington’s policy towards Russia? Is it going to work or fail? What should the West do with authoritarian countries?