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Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2001 / 4 Kislev, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- A CONSORTIUM of newspapers has released the latest recount of last year's presidential election or, at least, the votes in Florida.

The tally originally was supposed to appear in September, but the National Opinion research Center, which conducted the study, agreed to withhold the results at the behest of the report's sponsors -- The Washington Post, The New York Times and some other media outfits. Frankly, I don't give a darn and neither do most Americans. Not only is the election over; the investigation itself is suspect.

The participants are looking only at a selection of uncounted ballots in Florida and they are neglecting to check out other potential sources of fraud - double voting, votes by dead people, that sort of stuff in Florida and elsewhere.

If there's a point to this: it's that a fool and his money are soon parted -- because this probe is costing major dough. As for the rest of us, there's a war to win.

As the war continues in Afghanistan, a fascinating thing is happening on our soil. Russian President Vladimir Putin is sitting down with President Bush, and the two are trying to figure out how their countries can become allies. Now, Russia has suffered for centuries through an identity crisis: It hasn't been able to decide whether it is a European or Asian power, since in truth it is both.

Now Putin wants to join the West and in time, maybe even sign up for NATO, which was first formed to foil Russians. This wonderous, improbable development shows what happens when nations stick to their guns. The United States fought off Soviet oppression for a half century, and in time, our might and our determination vanquished the forces of totalitarianism.

Make no mistake, Russia will remain a mess for some time. But now, it's made a decision that could produce a much safer world and give us a much-needed ally in fighting the likes of Usama bin Laden.

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