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November 27, 2004
Bush Administration Champions Democracy Over Expediency

CQ reader Peter Ingemi points out an important perspective on the American reaction to the Ukrainian political crisis. In their election, the Kuchma government candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, actually represents the closest partner we would have in the war on terror. Yanukovych has pledged to increase troop strength in Iraq and mirrors Putin's resolve to conduct a forward strategy in the fight against Islamist terror. Viktor Yuschenko speaks of pulling Ukrainian troops from Iraq, where they comprise the sixth-largest segment of the Coalition.

One would expect the Bush Administration, therefore, to have sat quietly and hoped for Yanukovych to come to power regardless of the means. That focus on expediency has been an unfortunate hallmark of American foreign policy for decades, a leftover of our Cold War-style binary approach to the world. Instead, both Colin Powell and George Bush spoke strongly about their rejection of the election's results and the need to hold a credible election in Ukraine.

The reaction demonstrates the Bush Administration's commitment to democratization as the guiding principle of his term, a transforming and radically liberalizing foreign policy in the traditional sense of the term. Prior to the 1960s, American liberalism championed the march of democracy as the primary American mission to the world. Only after the defeatism of the 1960s baby boomers infected the political process did classical liberalism give way to the moral relativity and rank isolationism of the Democratic Party and the American left (not to mention a significant, but rapidly shrinking, segment of the GOP).

George Bush has resurrected classic liberalism in foreign policy as a key part of our national-security strategy. His moves in the Ukrainian crisis shows that he strongly believes in the transformative power of democracy, and his commitment to the process regardless of the policy shifts it brings internationally.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 27, 2004 1:49 PM

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