Ukraine’s revolution in a box may seem contrived, but I’m becoming an admirer in the short time I’ve been paying attention to the Pora movement.

A lot of planning, work and money has gone into efforts to design a US model for promoting democracy around the world. The model’s first success was notched in Serbia. Funded and organized by the US government, which deployed US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organizations (NGOs), the campaign defeated Slobodan Milosevich at the ballot box in Belgrade in 2000.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role in the campaign to oust Milosevich. In November last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, Miles reapplied the same method successfully. Thanks to his coaching, US-educated Saakashvili brought down Eduard Shevardnadze. When the US ambassador in Belarus, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in Central America, notably in Nicaragua, organized a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, he failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the United States’ Belgrade success 10 months earlier.

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable to the US in planning the operation in Kiev. It is thus easy to understand such slickly organized spontaneity. The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience, which would be the envy of even a Gandhian – is now so smooth that methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections. Located in the center of Belgrade, the Center for Non-violent Resistance, staffed by computer-literate youngsters, is ready for hire and will carry out operations to beat even a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations.

A lot of people would demean the movement as contrived, supported by Western carpet baggers, but I have to respect the amount of planning that went into recent events. Simply amazing.

Here’s another good article: Serbs Lend a Hand in Ukraine Protests