Monday, February 27, 2006

Questions and comments

I read all the comments and I know that some of them ask questions. We do though tend to be busy, busy, busy so we may not answer them in a timely manner. But maybe I can take care of some that I haven't had a chance to respond to:

1. Would it be helpful if Europe got involved in formulating an energy policy? It would because it it would help cement the tie to Europe. The problem though is that the policy would need to involve some changes in how the government does business. (There are lots of barriers to entry, for one thing.) Europe can help with this and so can the US but it will take Ukraine to get serious about it. I am always amused by Western experts who come in, help governments pass laws, and then leave with a hefty paycheck paid out of NGO funds. Problem is that it isn't so much the lack of law that is the issue as it is the fact that the law is what the one in power says it is. It has been said that there is no rule of law here. It would be more accurate though a bit toungue and cheek to say that there is rule of law except when it makes a difference. Europe and the US can have a say but it will take Ukrainians to make the changes needed.

2. There has also been some mention of the need for more of a civic society. This is true. There is a real need for a stronger civil society here and in Russia though Ukraine is much better off than Russia is on this. The problem though is again cultural. It is tough when most people here believe that the government is there to right all wrongs. The point is that people will petition the government for any problem that affects them from the large to the not so large. That this can be effective is one of the problems. To have a robust civil society there needs to be a sense that people themselves can make a difference. That is the spirit which dominated the OR on Maidan and a reason for being optimistic in the long run. But nothing is assured in the end and that cultural tendency tends to just get in the way.

Anyway, keep asking and we'll keep answering-- though it may take awhile.

1 comment:

DLW said...

I don't know what you're religious beliefs are, but if you're familiar with the work of John Yoder, he puts together a lot of critical scholarship on the Bible to sketch out the way the state was likely viewed by him and early Christians.

I reposted a good deal of it this past fall with some commentary. I think it's the sort of thing that needs to be circulated more in Ukraine and elsewhere to help foster more civic society and a better view of the state.