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Democracy and Russia’s DNA

The Washington Post asks why President Bush has given up on Russia:

But at a White House news conference Wednesday, Mr. Bush questioned “whether or not it’s possible to reprogram the kind of basic Russian DNA, which is a centralized authority.” In so doing, he echoed the laziest thinking of cultural determinists — those who said that South Korea could never be democratic because of its Confucian culture, and were proved wrong; who said that Indonesia could never be democratic because of its Muslim faith, and were proved wrong; and who say today that Russia will never escape its czar-serf history. … Mr. Bush’s musings about Russian DNA serve to vindicate Mr. Putin’s own justifications for stifling freedom. Worst, just as Mr. Bush has abandoned the champions of democracy he once encouraged in Egypt, so his dismissal of Russia’s genes betrays the Russians who have struggled and sacrificed — and will, one day, struggle and sacrifice again — to bring “dignity and freedom” to their homeland.

Full article here.