David Frum asks, (updated)
Is this the most important week in European history since 1989?
In days to come, and if this story has a happy ending, we may look back on the last week of November 2004, as the most important week in European history since 1989: the week that the nearly 50 million people of Ukraine cast aside post-Soviet authoritarianism and acted decisively to rejoin the world community of democratic nations. It is the week also in which Russian attempts to re-establish control over its former subject nations received their first rebuff since Putin’s entry into power.
Last evening France2 news had videos of the massive vote fraud during the Ukranian election: busloads of people taken from polling place to polling place voting as many as 40 times; propective Yuschenko voters savagely beaten up and brutally scared away from the polls, pre-filled boxes replacing the actual ballot boxes, ballots for Yuschenko set aside and not counted. Watch the French video here: Go to right sidebar, look for the Vidéos heading, and click under Ukraine: avant la décision de la Cour suprême.
May I ask, where’s the UN??? Not where needed. Again.
The final losers are the U.N. and Kofi Annan. The U.N. has been invisible. As Kofi Annan has been trying to keep his head above oil, he has issued his usual appeal for restraint. But this crisis has brought forth the heroes of the Cold War from retirement — Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and Margaret Thatcher — to encourage the orange revolutionaries. And Annan cannot begin to compete with their moral authority or the legitimacy they can bestow.
That’s saying a lot, considering O’Sullivan includes Yanukovych, Putin, Chirac “and those European leaders who want the European Union to be an anti-American counterweight to America. International crises involving Russia tend to remind Europeans that the United States remains a very valuable ally in a dangerous and unpredictable world. Fantasies of a superpower Europe seem insubstantial delusions by comparison with this tested alliance.” Arthur has more on the Orange Versus Blue struggle.
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Additional update: France2 News also showed that all the downtown Kiev shops were prominently displaying every garment imaginable in orange, Yuschenko’s color, and they can’t keep them in stock.