The usual hawks in America are constantly on the look-out for a new enemy. Vladimir Putin's Russia was one candidate. He's a bad guy, of course, but hardly like the old Commies who ran the Soviet Union. And war enthusiasts who want the U.S. to run the world really don't have much complaint when other governments, including Moscow, resist their plans.
In a bit of good news from overseas, it looks like the Russian people--even without the benefit of an invasion or other intervention from Washington--are souring on their authoritarian masters. Reports the BBC:
With 96% of votes counted, electoral officials said United Russia had just under 50%, down from 64% in 2007.
The vote is being seen as a popularity test of Mr Putin, who is running for the presidency in March.
European observers cited procedural violations and apparent manipulation, including ballot box stuffing.
Reading a communique, an official from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the election was in general "well organised" but there were severe problems with the counting process.
"The contest was also slanted in favour of the ruling party, the election administration lacked independence, most media were partial and state authorities interfered unduly at different levels," said Petros Efthymiou.
Opposition parties have also complained of violations of election laws.
The Russian people are still a long way from tossing out their overlords. But it appears that it isn't as easy for the latest crop of autocrats to rule them as has been assumed. And if honest elections are ever held, Mr. Putin & Friends might actually lose.
Let's hope that happens. And the best way to do that is to not turn Russia into a new enemy, under threat from the U.S.