It seems like Washington is turning up the heat a bit on Russia, at least in the public relations battles over that country's much vaunted claims to build democracy. Last week it was the U.S. Ambassador to Russia expressing grave concerns. This week it's U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who said in Washington two days ago that she is openly skeptical about the future of democracy in Russia. "We are very concerned, particularly about some of the elements of democratization that seem to be going in the wrong direction," she said. Rice recalled what was widely seen as Russia's recent use of gas supplies as a political tool against Ukraine, as well as new legislation to establish greater control over nongovernmental organizations. She added -- "the question is open as to where Russia's future development is going."
Condi could also have pointed to Russia's "fingerprints" on arms sales to terrorists, the return of dictatorial policies, the ongoing plunge of the government into corruption, and more. No, the Russian bear isn't at all healthy and, in its sickness, it poses a great danger to everybody else.