This is an excerpt from one of the more recent of the leaked diplomatic cables recently published on WikiLeaks, from February of 2010, a report (classified Secret) by John Beyrle, the U.S. ambassador to Russia -- http://18.104.22.168/cable/2010/02/10MOSCOW317.html . It really shows what a criminal enterprise the Russian regime (I don't think it can be legitimately called a government anymore) has become:
"XXXXXXXXXXXX told us everyone knows that Russia's laws do not
work. The Moscow system is based on officials making money.
The government bureaucrats, FSB [KGB successor agency], MVD, police, and
prosecutor's offices all accept bribes. XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that
everything depends on the Kremlin and he thought that [Moscow mayor]
Luzhkov, as well as many mayors and governors, pay off key
insiders in the Kremlin. XXXXXXXXXXXX argued that the vertical
works because people are paying bribes all the way to the
top. He told us that people often witness officials going
into the Kremlin with large suitcases and bodyguards, and he
speculated that the suitcases are full of money. The
governors collect money based on bribes, almost resembling a
tax system, throughout their regions. XXXXXXXXXXXX described how
there are parallel structures in the regions in which people
are able to pay their leaders. For instance, the FSB, MVD,
and militia all have distinct money collection systems.
Further, XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that deputies generally have to buy
their seats in the government. They need money to get to the
top, but once they are there, their positions become quite
lucrative money making opportunities. Bureaucrats in Moscow
are notorious for doing all kinds of illegal business to get extra money."
Pretty awesome to be able to read this stuff directly from the reports of high-level U.S. government officials, isn't it? Kudos to Julian Assange and his organization! One can only hope that more WikiLeaks exposés giving the insights of foreign diplomats and intelligence sources into how the U.S. government operates will be forthcoming!
Meanwhile however, I do not think libertarians in the U.S. should take the dismissive attitude toward revelations like this of "Well, that's just Russia," or "That's their concern, not ours." Just as libertarians have a need to convince people that our movement does care about and wants to help poor and disadvantaged people despite the fact that we oppose government welfare programs, so too do we (in the United States) likewise have a need to convince people that we care about human rights, democracy, and the rule of law outside the U.S. despite the fact that we oppose government extra-national military interventions and government foreign aid. As in the case of the social safety net issue, we can demonstrate that we care, and are not simply opposing government action without offering any positive vision of our own, by highlighting and championing alternative non-government approaches to addressing these issues.
One important and concrete step we could take as a party to demonstrate our commitment to worldwide freedom in the absence of U.S. government efforts to promote freedom and democracy abroad (regardless of whether we believe those efforts are doing any more good than federal welfare programs, many people do see them as necessary, especially in the absence of any articulated alternatives), would be for the Libertarian Party of the United States to take up an initiative of coordinating libertarian political parties around the world. The LPUS could take the lead in hosting regular meetings with representatives of these parties to exchange notes, offer mutual assistance, issue joint statements, take stands on global issues (like defending WikiLeaks), and speak out on each other's behalf regarding violations of liberty in our respective countries. Imagine for instance the impact that an international group of political parties issuing a statement condemning the U.S. government for excluding Libertarian candidate from a presidential debate could have in the press.
In this increasingly globalized world, it makes no sense for the electoral politics arm of the libertarian movement to be balkanized into different nationalist groups that have no formal structure for working together or even keeping lines of communication open.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))