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Monday, November 22, 2004


Georgie Ann Geyer on the election

From Yahoo! News:

Next week, the world will have the answer to a fascinating geopolitical question: whether the pivotal post-Soviet state of Ukraine will choose to return eastward, toward Russia, or to move westward, toward Europe.

This is far from a random choice, for around it flow political torrents that will decide whether Vladimir Putin's Russia can again be a formalized, or informalized, empire -- or whether it will be forced by Ukraine's action to turn itself toward Europe, and toward becoming more European than Asian.

Seldom has a moment in recent history been more potentially decisive -- and seldom has such a moment been less attended to in America, now obsessively sidetracked by Fallujah, Mosul and Ramadi.

Russian intervention in the campaign has been intense, public and utterly clear. President Putin traveled pointedly to Kiev, reviewed troops with "his" Viktor, and set up Potemkin groups to support Moscow's candidate, like the now-famous and mysterious "Russian Club."

The Russians have also used this fall's elections in Ukraine, and the far more problematic ones in totalitarian Belarus, to challenge the kind of institutional European election-watching that had given some hope to these elections. These attempts to cut back on European influence, particularly in the sensitive areas of elections, show the extent to which President Putin is trying to isolate the remnants of the Soviet empire from the West.

For now, the only clear fact is that, while so many in power in Washington are dreaming of empire, other parts of the world are busily working out their dreams. We might pay attention.

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