Kerry: 'Disturbing' Trend Of Authoritarianism In Eastern Europe | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Kerry: 'Disturbing' Trend Of Authoritarianism In Eastern Europe

Secretary of State John Kerry has criticized what he calls a "disturbing trend" among governments in eastern and central Europe to "trample the ambitions" of their people.

Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, Kerry said:

"The aspirations of citizens are once again being trampled beneath corrupt, oligarchic interests — interests that use money to stifle political opposition and dissent, to buy politicians and media outlets, and to weaken judicial independence and the rights of non-governmental organizations."

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, reporting from Munich, says Kerry singled out the crisis in Ukraine, saying that nowhere is the fight for a democratic European future more important than there.

"The offers of President Yanukovich have not yet reached an adequate level of reform and an adequate level of sharing of the future," Kerry said.

Embattled Yanukovich, who has been the target of a months-long campaign by anti-government protesters opposed to his government's cozy relations with Moscow, signed into law an amnesty for demonstrators detained during the unrest.

But Reuters reports that the move "was not likely to be enough to end the sometimes violent anti-government protests on the streets of Kiev and other cities."

Reuters writes:

"The 63-year-old leader, who looks increasingly isolated in a tug-of-war between the West and Ukraine's former Soviet overlord Russia, suddenly withdrew from view on Thursday, complaining of a high temperature and acute respiratory ailment. He was not seen in public on Friday."

At the conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed Western support of the Ukrainian opposition and suggested it was leading to the escalation of violence.

The Associated Press writes:

"Kerry made his remarks alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who did not directly mention Ukraine but echoed Kerry's call for a 'trans-Atlantic renaissance,' or redoubling of efforts to improve all manner of cooperation between the United States and its European allies in NATO."

"A subtle but significant sub-theme of Hagel's speech was his assertion that he and Kerry are intent on giving relatively more weight to diplomacy in U.S. foreign affairs and less to the military. ..."

"Hagel said this means advancing a 'renewed and enhanced era of partnership' with allies, including those in Europe who were troubled by what they saw as unwise and even arrogant U.S. use of force in Iraq. It also means working mostly behind the scenes in troubled areas of the globe, including in Africa, to help unstable countries defend their lands without direct U.S. military intervention."

"'The United States will engage European allies to collaborate more closely, especially in helping build the capabilities of other global partners,' Hagel said."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, March 2, 2015

Virginia band Avers comes to D.C. this week for a pop performance at the Black Cat. 

NPR

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through 'Adopt A Cow'

The cheeses of the Italian Alps are prized for their flavor. But the tradition of cheese-making here is dying off. Now remaining farmers are banding together around an unusual adoption program.
WAMU 88.5

Maryland's Barbara Mikulski To Retire From The U.S. Senate

Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in Congressional history will retire when her fifth term in the Senate is up.

NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.