BUSH & RUSSIA'S BREW
By Bishop Paul Peter Jesep
"Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
. . . tis time! tis time!
. . . Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble."
President George W. Bush has done something much worse than his father's infamous "Chicken Kyiv" speech. He has willingly and knowingly sipped a witch's brew concocted by President Vladimir Putin made with Ukrainian sovereignty.
In the close U.S. presidential election, Ukrainian-Americans in the toss-up states of Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania must consider the Bush Administration's attitude toward their ancestral homeland as one of several factors in casting their vote in the November presidential election.
Here are the recent facts:
• In October, the Secret Service of Ukraine, a make-over of the KGB, has searched the offices of Znayu, an organization trying to guarantee a fair election. It was done knowing that there would be no substantive response from the United States. One very experienced political observer in Ukraine, having monitored elections in Communist Nicaragua, said that he had "not seen anything like this."
• An international news service reported that the official response of the United States to election tampering has been to deny visas to key Ukrainian officials who are suspected of participating in fraudulent activities. Deny visas? Put another way it's called a slap on the hand. Such an insignificant reaction never deters a bully. Let's get real. The liberty and freedom of 50 million people are at stake. Denying visas is laughable and a sad commentary on U.S. foreign policy. Just as important, this is a reaction, not a proactive position to protect and further Ukraine's delicate, blooming national consciousness.
• The Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate continues to use President Vladimir Putin to influence the spiritual resurrection of a non-Russian, sovereign nation. With the blessing of Big Brother Orthodox Incorporated to the north – there are efforts to mobilize the Russified populace to stop Ukraine's admission to European political and economic organizations. Ukraine cannot realize its potential as one of the economic powerhouses of the continent without full participation in such organizations. Should it fall into the shadows of Moscow then it will be nothing more than a feeding source for a hungry political and economic vampire that will exploit its victim again and again. How is it possible that things have come to this point without any anticipation or subsequent response from the Bush Administration?
• According to Radio Free Europe, opposition Ukrainian candidates have not been given fair access to the media. Without a free and fair media democracy can not live. The Kuchma government is attempting to close a television station that wants to offer a balanced approach to the news. And still this is done without any serious consequences from the Bush Administration.
• In October, AP Worldstream reported that "the Kremlin has all but officially endorsed the candidacy of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in an apparent attempt to prevent his Western-oriented challenger from taking power. Russian praise of Yanukovych could be strongly influential in a country with millions of ethnic Russians who are suspicious of the West. Imagine if the president of France tried to influence the U.S. presidential election? Yet the current occupant of the White House has no strong feelings about what is now going on in Europe's second largest country.
During the last four years, Ukraine has slipped toward social, political, and economic submission to its former Russian overlords. The above concerns are just a sample of recent events. It is disheartening to review what has occurred in the last four years without any anticipation or substantive action from the Bush Administration.
If George W. Bush is re-elected and he continues the same policy approach toward Ukraine then I am again reminded of Shakespeare's Macbeth:
"Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
While Putin has boiled and bubbled an evil brew at Ukraine's expense, the Bush Administration has willingly tasted it. And it may continue to do so. Ukrainian-Americans must not allow their voice to be divided, especially by bombastic spokespersons with Republican leanings who suggest that they speak for the entire Ukrainian-American community.
As a registered Republican and former GOP activist, I urge fellow Ukrainian-Americans to think in a post-Soviet, non-Cold War mind set. Living in the drama of the political past jeopardizes the ancestral homeland's independence and dismisses the resurrected Jesus who waits to embrace a reawakened Ukraine and a better America.
May God give the next president of the United States an understanding of the tragic history of Rus' while taking an active interest in furthering democracy in this ancient land. Let not additional crass political deals between Russia and America continue to make Ukrainian sovereignty an ingredient in some dark, dastardly witch's brew. The large Ukrainian-American communities in the toss-up states of Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have much to carefully consider in this year's presidential election.
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep is Chancellor of the Archeparchy and Vicar General of Public Affairs and Government Relations for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Sobornopravna (UAOC-S) based in Cleveland, Ohio. In the past, His Grace also a lawyer and political scientist by training, served on the staff to U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). Bishop Jesep may be reached at VladykaPaulPeter@aol.com. The views expressed here are strictly personal and do not reflect the official position of the UAOC-S. The UAOC-S does not endorse candidates.
Metropolitan Stephan on Putin's Recent Visit in Ukraine.
Metropolitan Michael: Divine Liturgy at Cathedral to Include Prayers for Ukrainian and American Elections.
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