Ukraine Election

The recent presidential election in Ukraine is an interesting story. Although I can hardly tell the protagonists apart from each other (both of their first names are Viktor, and there last names are also similar), I have been trying to follow the developments. Today, an election commission declared the Kremlin-backed candidate the winner, sparking protests from his opponent's followers that threatens to escalate into open conflict. I've seen one publication go so far as to say civil war is a possibility. There are thousdands of protesters in the street. Can you imagine this happening in front of the White House? I think that this would have been a possibility had we had another election like the 2000 debacle. The Bush administration is in somewhat of a bind. There are widespread allegations that the voting in the Ukrained was flawed. The administration obviously does not want to be seen as endorsing an invalid election. On the other hand, the Bushites also don't want to damage their relationship with Putin, who publicly endorsed Bush's reelection. As Putin continues to consolidate power in Russia, it is becoming increasingly hard for the Bush administration to avoid criticizing the Russian president. I wonder how Ms. Rice at the State Department will handle this situation. Remember, she grew her roots in the Cold War as an expert on Soviet issues. Does she still harbor some of the anti-Soviet bias that was sure to have accompanied her earlier study? With the Bush doctrine of spreading democracy constantly on his lips, he cannot simply turn a blind eye to an obvious subversion of democracy, if the election is indeed "proven" to have been fraudulant. An open conflict between Washington and Moscow is not what either country needs at this time. Stay tuned!

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