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James Gibney

Bush's Chicken Kiev Comes Home to Roost

Twenty years later, George H.W. Bush deserves some credit for his prudence on Ukraine.

Anyone care for a microwaved dish of "Chicken Kiev"? History buffs may recall that was how New York Times columnist William Safire characterized a speech that President George H.W. Bush gave to the Ukrainian parliament on Aug. 1, 1991, when, as Safire put it, "he lectured Ukrainians against self-determination."

Yet seen from today, some of Bush's larger concerns about how Russia might react to losing Ukraine seem, to use one of Poppy's favorite words, "prudent." Moreover, the kerfuffle around Bush's speech is a useful reminder of the long-running struggle between foreign-policy realists and idealists -- not least within the Bush family itself.