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The “Mad Bear” Theory

Undaunted and unrestrained, Garry Kasparov hammers away again at the Russian leadership in the Wall Street Journal:

So the question for Western leaders is whether they doubt Mr. Putin would hesitate to provoke a war in the Middle East. If his regime falls, he and his cronies will face the loss of their immense fortunes and criminal prosecution when their looting is exposed. What are thousands of lives in the Middle East to a Kremlin mob that is openly preparing for the day when they will have to open fire on their own citizens to stay in power?

This “mad bear” theory is even more plausible when you consider how tolerant the current cohort of Western leaders has been regarding the destruction of democratic rights around the world. There appears to be no line the world’s despots — and would-be despots — cannot cross with impunity.

It is time to bury the failed model of dealing with the world’s antidemocratic and bloodthirsty regimes. The real change we must effect in 2009 is toward a new global emphasis on the value of human life. Anything less confirms to the enemies of democratic civilization that everything is negotiable. For Mr. Putin that means democracy; for Hamas it means Israel’s existence. The Free World must take those chips off the table.