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Obama’s Restrained Stance toward Ukraine

Nicholas Gvosdev has a new article here which discusses how U.S. interests will be impacted by the election of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, and what policies with Russia he is likely to pursue.  He congratulates the Obama administration’s “low-key” response to the election, and argues that it’s wrong to try to divide Ukraine into pro-West and pro-Russia factions.  While it’s clear that we can forget about NATO expansion (which I am not sure is a goal of this administration), as well as energy sovereignty (Gvosdev doesn’t mention the resurrection of the extremely problematic RosUkrEnergo in the transit trade), there is still a major area left unexplored in this presentation:  the potential impact Yanukovych will have on Ukraine’s young democracy and democratic development in the post-Soviet sphere. 

Isn’t that a U.S. interest as well?  Was it ever one?