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Updated: democracies waking up

In democracies stand together I remarked that they had effective levers to tell Russia that acts have consequences.

Cicero of London lists them -

Russian cyber attacks? Close the Russian Internet access to the outside world, as it is reopened, close it again, and again- replicate the cyber attacks they launched against Georgia (oh, and NATO, last year). Does Russia like i-phones? No export of any technology. Does Russia wish to join WTO? Stop it Are they members of the "G-8"? No, you mean G-7. Abrogate all military treaties including START. EBRD and EIB investments in Russia? Suspend them. No most favoured nation status- extra tariffs on Russian exports. Russia craves respectability? Deny it- it is a thuggish third rate power- it will be hurt by a concerted boycott . . .

These ideas, or levers, are an excellent place to start after the democracies have decided after reviewing the facts that there is a guilty party.

(There is no point involving the UN because it is held hostage by non-democracies such as Russia.)

If it is decided to use these levers and they fail, the democracies would have to reach for other tools.

Would have to, that is, if they understand the importance of "tit-for-tat" in maintaining international peace. The concept is no different than making a thief pay. If the thief is allowed off scot-free, law-abiding citizens lose confidence that doing the right thing is the right thing to do and trust, which is as important to our social well-being as oxygen is to our air, is lost.

Democracies often flinch from doing the hard things, which makes things worse for them not in the long run, though that is true, but in the short run. Letting thugs get away with murder, theft and kidnapping is a terrible idea.

The idea that the democracies can only work effectively if they work through the UN seems to have been disproved by the evidence of the past few years. For those who hate the Iraq War - the UN did not stop it. For those angry that Saddam Hussein walked away scot-free from the first Gulf War, repeatedly fired on American and British planes guarding the Kurds and Kuwait and ignored UN resolutions - the UN did not work.

Updated: We need to try something different, I wrote. If this commentator is correct, we are.

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