Moldovan Dniester republic, a largelyrnSlavic region that had long sought Moscow’srnprotection from a pro-Rumanianrngovernment.rnMeanwhile, Ukraine also appears tornbe moving closer to Russia —and awayrnfrom NATO. Ukrainian President LeonidrnKuchma, accused of ordering thernmurder last fall of journalist GcorgyrnGongadze, who had chronicled Kuchma’srncozy relations with the Ukrainianrnand Russian oligarch/mafia class, is nowrnunder pressure to resign. The Russiansrnjumped at the opportunity to alter Kuchma’srnincreasingly pro-Western, pro-rnNATO stance: Vladimir Putin visitedrnUkraine in February, offering a deal thatrnwould ease the country’s energy crunch.rn(Ukraine depeirds on Russia for naturalrngas and is heaily indebted to Moscowrnfor past energy shipments.) That andrnother economic morsels served up byrnMoscow—as well as the obious show ofrnsupport for the embattled Ukrainian presidentrn—proved to be an offer Kuchmarncoidd not refuse. Emboldened by Putin’srnsupport. Kuchma subsetjuently orderedrnthe arrest of his archenemy, former DeputyrnPremier Yuliya Tynioshenko, on comiptionrncharges. (The wil)- and very photogenicrnTymoshenko is widely viewed asrnthe organizer and financier of the anti-rnKuchma opposition.)rnMost observers in Kiev, Moscow, andrnthe Moldavan capital of Chisinau sawrnP^ebruary’s developments as a major setbackrnfor NATO’s plans to include both arnunited Rumaniair/Moldovan state and arnpro-Western (and anti-Russian) Ukrainernin the alliance. Meanwhile, Russian proponentsrnof an eventual Slavic Union sawrnthe events as a boost for their plans to includernboth Moldova and Ukraine in anrnexpanded Russia-Belarus commonwealth,rndashing NATO’s apparent plans to encirclernand isolate a weakened Russia.rnAmerican and European opponents ofrnthe globalist/imperialist project can takernheart: The world outside the WashingtonrnBeltwa^ is proving to be quite a stubbornrnand frustrating place for the Masters ofrnthe Universe, who will have to wait a litriernlonger for the “end of history.”rn— Denis PetrovrnA s THE BUSH ADMINISTRATIONrnfinishes its first four months in office, thernbig legal news is that there is no big news.rnThere have been some hopeful signs: thernappointment of John Ashcroft as attorneyrngeneral; the appointment of TheodorernOlson as solicitor general. Both are distinguishedrnconservatives, the former associatedrnwith the Burkean wing of the conservativernmovement, the latter with thernfree-market conservatives of the FederalistrnSociety. Still, while the national pressrnseemed obsessed with the Clinton pardonrnscandals, the Bush tax cut, and thernpossible meltdown on Wall Street, almostrnnothing was heard about the futurernof the federal courts under George W.rnBush.rnWe can only hope that someone,rnsomewhere, in the new administration isrncarefullv screening potential judges, withrnthe purpose of accomplishing what Bushrnpere botched —the reestablishment of arnfederal judiciary with an actual understandingrnof the Constitution and the law.rnThe last Bush administration did a creditablernjob with many of the lower federalrncourts, but failed miserablv (because ofrnthe appointment of Jushce Souter to thernSupreme Court) to reerse the trend ofrnthe Supremes to be lawmakers ratherrnthan interpreters. The next appointmentrnto the Supreme Court is the one to watchrnfor, as are the appointments to the federalrncourts of appeals. During the campaign.rnPresident Bush said the right thingrnwhen he promised nrore Supreme CourtrnjusHces like Antonin Scalia and ClarencernThomas, who believe that the only appropriaterninterpretation of the Conshtutionrnis the Framers’ intent. If this viewrnever regains ascendance, it would not on-rnIv spell the end of a constitutional right tornabortion, but would return queshorrs ofrneducation, criminal law, and religionrnand moralih’ back to state and local governmentsrn—where the Framers wantedrnthem.rnAmong the ranks of the sitting federalrnappellate court judges (from whence justicesrnare now chosen) there are superbrnpotential Supreme Court appointmentsrnwho would move us back toward the originalrnunderstanding. Judges Edith Jonesrnand Emilio Garza of the Fifth Circuitrnand Chief Judge J. Harxie Wilkinson ofrnthe Fourth are certainly possibilities. Allrnthree of these, however, might lead to arnpitched battle in the Senate, which ma}’rnnow be Republican in name only; if—rnGod forbid —anything happens to StromrnThurmond (while South Carolina has arnDemocratic governor), even RINO statusrnwill end.rnScalia is only on the Court because,rnfor a brief time under Reagan, the Republicansrncontrolled the Senate, andrnThomas got through after one of the mostrnbitter nomination battles in memory onlyrnbecause he was able to complain of arn”high-tech lynching.” The Thomasrnnomination was Bush Senior’s finestrnhour, and we will soon be able to measurernhis son’s true constitutional mettie.rnThe unscrupulous characters who opposedrnThomas are still out there; whilernthey lost the election and their attemptsrnto overturn it, they haven’t given up.rnWhile it was understood that the Ashcroftrnconfirmation was supposed to be a rehearsalrnfor the real bloodletting thatrnshould occur when a Supreme Court justicernis nominated, the forces of darknessrnseemed strangely blunted, since no tarrnstuck to the nominee — not even in thernusual liberal media organs. Perhapsrnnow—while the odor of the Clinton pardonsrnlingers; while the Reverend Jacksonrnis explaining his dalliances, his incomerntaxes, and the federal funding of his organizationsrnand their funding of his mistress;rnand while the new President coirtinuesrnto astonish his erstwhile critics byrnhis unexpected competence —is the timernfor Dubya to deliver on his campaignrnpromises about the Supreme Court.rn—Stephen B. PresserrnO B I T E R D I C T A : Charles EdwardrnEaton, who lives in Chapel Hill, NorthrnCarolina, is our first poet this month.rnMr. Eaton is the author of 15 collectionsrnof poetry (most recently The ]ogger by thernSea), four volumes of short stories, and arnnoel, A Lady of Pleasure. He is the recipientrnof the North Carolina Award forrnLiterature, among other prizes. His autobiography.rnThe Man From Buena Vista,rnwill be published this year.rnThe poetry of Constance Rowell Mastoresrnof Oakland, California, returns tornour pages this month. Her poems havernappeared in the Lyric, Press, Blue Unicom,rnBoulevard, dndArtweek, among others.rnOur artwork this month is provided byrnour art director, H. Ward Sterett ofrnRoscoe, Illinois. Mr. Sterett received hisrnB.F.A. from the University of Coloradornand his M.F.A. from Northern IllinoisrnUniversity, and attended the L’Abri Fellowship,rnwhere he studied the effect ofrnChristianity orr art. He currentiy works asrna sculptor, painter, and printmaker inrnRoscoe.rnci/StfccKsrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn