American merry-go-round over Ukrainian elections

Was anyone else surprised when Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that the United States does not accept the results of the elections in the Ukraine this past week?

Election officials in Kiev announced that the Russian-backed prime minister, Victor Yanukovych, had defeated a former prime minister, Viktor Yushchenko, in Sunday’s election in the Ukraine.

Powell said there would be consequences for U.S.-Ukraine relations if the government there did not act "immediately and responsibly" to find a solution that respected the will of its people.

"We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse," Powell said in a statement released by the State Department.

Powell called for a full review of the election and basically demanded a recount, which is how I define the phrase "the tabulation of election results."

Haven’t the Ukrainians heard of the Supreme Court? Just shut Powell and BUsh up by having one of the Ukranian Supreme Court justices declare Yanukovych the winner. It worked for President Bush in January 2001.

Maybe the Ukrainians offended Bush by expressing dismay over how poorly the American elections were conducted back in November 2000? ANd that has provoked Powell to enforce a standard on others that we, Americans, don’t impose on ourselves.

Suddenly, the Bush administration is talking about "popular will" as they not only block a recount in Ohio where voter fraud appears rampant, but they also have used their clout in the Congress to undermine the reforms proposed by the 9/11 Commission.

(Notice how Bush waited until after his re-election to trash the 9/11 Commission report?)

I guess the issue is not the rule of law, justice or a single standard of democracy, otherwise where would Powell and Bush get off lecturing another nation about their election process when the one we have right here stinks and is clearly corrupted by special interest power politics.

But most of the world already recognizes that the United States isn’t really a land of "opportunity." It’s more or less like the land of hypocrisy.

How else do you describe this double standard? I understand the simplistic equation "You are either with us or against us," as Bush has carefully enunciated.

But now I realize that also means that if you are "us," you have one standard of justice and if you are not "us" you have another standard of justice. Be it in elections. Be it in investigations of criminal terrorist acts that may find themselves nipping at your own heals (Bush’s cozy friendship and business ties to Osama Bin Laden’s relatives, for example).

Or be it the capricious manner in which the United States claims it is not subject to the 4th Geneva Conventions which guide the civilized conduct of warfare, although I am sure we will demand 4th Geneva Convention protections for our soldiers and our friends when it suits our purposes.

Does the rest of the world see this hypocrisy as clearly as I do? Or is it simply that they have known something for a long time that I have only recently come to realize.

America speaks from both sides of its mouth. Justice for "us" is different from justice for "you."

I am all for justice and fair elections, democracy and freedoms. But I am also a big believer in "practice what you preach."

Clearly that’s a phrase that most Americans don’t want to hear.