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Ben Franklin's bifocals January 23, 2005

The Reign in Ukraine

ballot box man swearing oath

Today was inauguration day in the Ukraine. Viktor Yushchenko took office with a clear two million majority of the popular vote cast, after the Ukrainian Supreme Court rejected a meritless challenge by his Kremlin-sponsored opponent. In this revolution not a shot was fired, and not a life was lost, in spite of the fact that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was heavily backed by Russian President Putin, had tried to poison his opponent. When that attempt failed, Yanukovych tried to steal the previous election by stuffing the ballot boxes, prompting a huge popular protest in Kiev. This is how democracy and freedom truly take hold when the people demand it. American lives lost: zero. Cost to the US taxpayer: zero. Result: a nation of almost 50 million people (twice the size of Iraq) takes a bold step in the right direction (Westward).

Less than a decade and a half ago Ukraine was part of the late, not so lamented, Soviet Union, and was a cold war foe of free and democratic nations like ours. Where did the Ukrainian national pride come from that caused the peaceful mass demonstrations by ordinary citizens who took to the streets and produced this result? History has not been kind to this region. During the previous century Hitler and Stalin murdered Ukrainians by the millions. From whence arose this independent judiciary? How did we manage to keep our heavy foreign policy hands off this process and refrain from some form of clumsy intervention that would have derailed this stunning victory for freedom over fraud and repression? How about them Ukrainians!

Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko taking oath President Viktor Yushchenko with Secretary Colin Powell

William's Whimsical Words:

In the interest of full disclosure, William must reveal that all four of his grandparents, and his mother, were born in the Ukraine.

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