- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Possible dream

Unlike Don Quixote, the Polish ambassador says he is dreaming the possible dream when he thinks of the future of Ukraine.

Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski believes Ukraine’s pro-democracy Orange Revolution qualifies the country as a candidate for membership in NATO and the European Union.

He noted that only 15 years ago, few “dared to dream” that Poland would become a member of those Western institutions.

“Now it is time for decisions: Ukraine in NATO by 2012, in the EU by 2020?” the ambassador wrote in the latest edition of the Polish Embassy newsletter.

“Impossible? Why don’t we just say: a dream.”

Ukraine, Poland’s southeastern neighbor, “transformed itself from a post-Soviet country into a free sovereign nation with an increasingly stronger civil society” after the massive street demonstrations in November forced a new presidential election, Mr. Grudzinski said.

Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-Western candidate, won the new election on Dec. 26, after the Ukrainian Supreme Court overturned the November vote as fraudulent. Former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, endorsed by Moscow, claimed victory in the first election.

The Orange Revolution, named for the color of Mr. Yushchenko’s political party, was inspired by the Rose Revolution that brought a pro-democratic government to Georgia.

Mr. Grudzinski said, “The Orange Revolution sends a powerful message that freedom, democracy, transparent free-market economy and human rights are not alien to the nations that emerged from the Soviet empire. …

“A free and sovereign Ukraine is no threat to its neighbors but surely is an inspiration to nations and their leaders in the region in their quest for solutions to the present challenges.”

He called on NATO and EU leaders to offer Ukraine a “robust package of assistance for a closer integration [with European institutions] that matches the significance of the historic change there.”

“It is good for Ukraine; it is good for the trans-Atlantic community,” he said.

Envoy picked for NSC

President Bush this week named Jack Dyer Crouch II, the U.S. ambassador to Romania, to serve in the No. 2 post at the National Security Council.

“J.D. Crouch’s extensive experience in national defense and foreign policy will make him a valued member of my national security team,” Mr. Bush said in selecting the ambassador as the Deputy national security adviser.

Mr. Crouch will serve under Stephen Hadley, the former Deputy who was promoted to national security adviser after Condoleezza Rice was named secretary of state.

Although he has been in Romania only since May, Mr. Crouch established himself as a straight-talking ambassador who was not afraid to point out Romania’s problems.

In a speech last week, he warned the new government that it must reform its business climate if it wants to continue attracting foreign investment. Mr. Crouch said too many Romanian laws penalize foreign companies, while rewarding domestic ones.

“Companies do not wish to compete in a hostile market where they will forever have a handicap over which they have no control,” he said. “This is similar to an honest student taking final exams surrounded by a classroom of cheaters.”

Mr. Crouch called for judicial reforms to “enforce professional standards that promote fairness and the rule of law.” The courts also fail Romanian citizens, he said.

“The average Romanian does not believe he or she can receive justice in a Romanian court,” he said.

Mr. Crouch said Washington has high hopes for the new government under President Traian Basescu because he is “committed to extensive and rapid” economic reforms.

Before he was appointed ambassador, Mr. Crouch served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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