When Mohammed Morsi, the elected president of Egypt, was ousted in a military coup last summer, backed by huge crowds in Tahrir Square, John Kerry said the army was "restoring democracy."
Is this the new American concept of democracy, that when an elected government makes a major decision many dislike, the people should take to the streets and shut down the capital until the president reverses course or resigns?
President Obama is telling the Yanukovych government to respect the protesters. No violence. But how would Obama react if thousands of Tea Party members established an encampment on the Mall, burned down the DNC, occupied the Capitol and demanded he either repeal Obamacare or resign?
Would Barack Obama negotiate?
Russia has accused us of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs.
And when we see the State Department's Victoria Nuland in Maidan Square egging on the protesters, and hear tape of Nuland discussing with the U.S. ambassador whom we want in the next Ukrainian government, do not the Russians have a point?
Under George W. Bush, our National Endowment for Democracy helped to engineer color-coded revolutions in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, but it failed in Belarus. We have a long track record of meddling.
And was it not interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine for John McCain to fly to Kiev, go down to Maidan Square, and do his best imitation of Mario Savio in Sproul Plaza?
If the Cold War is over, why are we playing these Cold War games?
Imagine where America would be today had the neocons gotten their way and brought Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.
We would have been eyeball-to-eyeball with Russia in the South Ossetian war of 2008, and eyeball-to-eyeball today over Kiev. Yet, in neither country is there any vital U.S. interest worth risking war with Russia.
What is coming in Ukraine, however, is likely to be far worse than what we have seen up to now. For this political crisis has deepened the divide between a western Ukraine that looks to Europe, and an east whose historic, linguistic, cultural and ethnic bonds are with Mother Russia.
With reports of police and soldiers in western Ukraine defecting from the government to join the rebellion, Ukraine could be a country sliding into civil war. If so, the spillover effects could be ominous.
But, to be candid, what happens in Ukraine has always been more critical to Moscow than it has ever been to us.
As Barack Obama said of Syria, this is "somebody else's civil war."