What If, What If?

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Zhao Ziyang, a former Chinese leader who has been under house arrest since 1989 for supporting the student protesters in Tiananmen Square, has died.

Rebecca MacKinnon recalls an interview she did with Bao Tong, one of Zhao’s closest aides:

I think history will remember what he [Zhao] said: that problems must be solved in the framework of democracy and law. I believe that no major problem in China today can be solved outside of this framework. Not just corruption. Other problems are the same. Outside of the framework of democracy and law, none of China’s major problems can be solved. If we don’t solve problems within this framework we will certainly fail. For instance, the June 4 crackdown failed because it violated the principles of democracy and law. If the government reverses its position, it will definitely succeed because this would be in keeping with the framework of democracy and law.

Now look at this article about how behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Ukraine’s intelligence service may have prevented a bloodbath:

Among the protesters’ tents, an S.B.U. colonel who had spent the week as a liaison to the demonstration organizers alerted the organizers that troops were on their way.

His next mission was to meet the [Interior Ministry] troops as they drew near, he said, to warn their officers that a crackdown without written orders was illegal.

This only makes me wonder, what if, what if?

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What if what?

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