Birdblog checks in
Tim Birdnow, a regular contributor to The American Thinker who also maintains the excellent Birdblog site, is also a regular visitor to UT. Usually his comments are so worthy that it is a shame to let them languish on the comments page, since those comments are hidden. Here are his thoughts on the recent articles dealing with Ukraine's emergence onto the international political and economic scene, and my own response.
Tim Birdnow said:
What the Ukrainian people (and others emerging from the domination of the Warsaw Pact) are experiencing is akin to a world class athlete being entered in the tour-de-France while never having ridden a bicycle. They are educated, intelligent, industrious, but have not had the benefit of operating legally in a system which encourages free enterprise. You are right; they need international financing and advisers on how to operate a market-oriented economy. They need the rule of law (hopefully they`re about to get that!) and they need practice. In time, I suspect the Ukrainian economy will challenge Old Europe,and eventually our own. Japan did it, and Ukraine can do it too! They have all the ingredients assembled in the pot-they just need some time to simmer on the stove.
You are absolutely right, Tim. As the article by the young election observer further down on my blog notes, he discovered that independence and freedom are not the same thing. Ukraine has been independent for a decade at least, but does not really understand how a true free market works because they have not had the conditions to allow it. One of the biggest things that held back foreign investment was the corrupt oligarchical crony system, which froze out any legitimate investment, and a corrupt legal system which did not enforce contract law. Nobody wants to invest their money and then find out it's all been stolen and there is no recourse in the courts. As we know, the prime prerequisite to a true free market is a firm legal system and true private property -- neither of which has existed in Ukraine up until now. The task that stands before Yushchenko is truly daunting. It is a miracle that he is so optimistic after everything that he's had to endure. I think it is because of his religious faith, frankly, that he has been able to carry on. Another thing that is so powerful, is that a sense of religious faith seems to have awakened in the population which had religion driven from the public and private arenas for so long. And also, not to be discounted, is the fact that an entirely new generation has grown up that hardly remembers the days of severe repression and lack of freedom. These young people want and expect liberty.