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January 23, 2005
Exhibit A Of Bush's Inaugural Address

In what should be seen as the first example of the new policies articulated in Bush's inaugural speech, Viktor Yushchenko assumed office as President of Ukraine today. As Yushchenko noted on his own inauguration, his presidency would not exist had it not been for countries like the United States dumping realpolitik to stand fast for democracy:

Viktor Yushchenko became Ukraine's president Sunday and vowed to seek a full place in Europe for the people he led in a peaceful revolt against a rigged national election and pressure from Russia.

Watched by Secretary of State Colin Powell, seven presidents of ex-communist states and relatively minor dignitaries from Moscow, Yushchenko took the oath of office in parliament to cap his two-month "Orange Revolution." ...

"I want to assure you that you will continue to enjoy the full support of the American government and the American people as you move forward to undertake the efforts that the Ukrainian people are expecting," Powell told Yushchenko after their talks.

Yushchenko told Powell, soon to step down, that his victory would not have happened "if we didn't have partners that are advocating democratic principles and shared democratic values."

Consider the Bush administration's support for Yushchenko in relation to his bold declarations that redirects America's foreign policy towards the promotion of "human liberty" above all other issues. Bush has had a privileged relationship with Vladimir Putin, Russia's president and a key ally in the war on terror. Putin wanted Yushchenko's opponent, former PM Viktor Yanukovych, to take over in Kyiv and continue Russia's strong influence over Ukrainian affairs. Yushchenko had already committed to an immediate withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the Iraq coalition, which makes Bush's strategy all the more difficult for the upcoming elections and in keeping other coalition members on board. Moreover, Yushchenko may lean towards the West, but in actuality his economic and political viewpoint is Eurocentric, with strong ties to the more socialist policies of the French and Germans than the free-market impulses of his closest East European neighbors.

If Bush operated under the old "stability" doctrine, his choice should have been to support Putin and Yanukovych. It would have been easy enough to downplay the reports of widespread corruption -- just look to see how easy it was in the Palestinian Authority elections earlier this month. He could have shored up his relationship with Putin and assured a strong hand in the Caucasus against Islamofascists gathered there.

Instead, Bush chose to support democracy, and made sure that he diplomatically made clear that the American government would only accept a clean election in Ukraine. Bush gave us an advance look at what he meant in his inauguration speech when he told the world, "When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you."

Some people now claim that Bush didn't mean what he said -- that the speech was little more than pretty words on a cold day in January. I submit that not only did he mean to fulfill those words in the future, he already had changed the course of American policy to match his soaring rhetoric. That most people have missed this just shows that Bush continues to be the most underestimated American statesman since Ronald Reagan.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2005 11:06 AM

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» After the Inauguration from Watcher of Weasels
Man alive, Peggy Noonan sure has her panties in a twist over the perceived religiosity of Bush's inaugural address...  William F. Buckley was also unimpressed, though his complaints mainly focus on the wording of it.  And, though Larry K... [Read More]

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» The Culmination of Ukraine's Orange Revolution. from
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