Obama and Bush following the lead

Discussion in 'Politics' started by jreeves, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. jreeves

    jreeves Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2008
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    President Bush's assurance back in 2001 that he looked into Vladimir Putin's soul and liked what he saw was the international equivalent of his "heckuva job" boosterism of Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown in the immediate wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    John McCain's assessment stands up much better: When he looked at Putin, "he saw three letters: a K, a G, and a B." Putin's neo-Soviet state has launched a nakedly illegal invasion of neighboring Georgia that is reminiscent of the Winter War against Finland at the outset of World War II. The Russian press is pumping out absurd lies about Georgian acts of genocide, even as the Russian military indiscriminately bombs and shells Georgian cities. Edward Gibbon's description of the Inquisition comes to mind -- nonsense defended by cruelty.

    The Bush and Obama statements in the immediate wake of the crisis could have been issued by a joint campaign. Bush's spokeswoman urged "all parties," both Georgians and Russians, "to de-escalate the tension and avoid conflict." Obama declared that "now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint." In their implied moral equivalence, these reactions were a little like urging the Kuwaitis to de-escalate with Saddam's Iraq in August 1990.
    McCain's proposal from a few months ago to boot Russia from the G-8 has gone from seeming needlessly provocative to practically prescient. Together with the surge in Iraq, the Georgian crisis is the second strategic matter on which everyone else has followed the senator's lead.

    McCain warned of Russian designs on its "near-abroad" when Boris Yeltsin was still in power, and advocated the enlargement of NATO into Eastern Europe -- as a way to cement those countries into the West and check Russian adventurism -- years before the Clinton administration adopted it as policy.
    McCain's judgment benefits from years of marinating in national-security issues and traveling and getting to know the key players; from a hatred of tinpot dictators and bloody thugs that guides his moral compass; and from a flinty realism (verging at times on fatalism) that is resistant to illusions about personalities, or the inevitable direction of History, or the nature of the world.

    Putin launched his assault on Georgia on the same day the Olympics opened with the theme of "One World, One Dream." Putin put paid to that within hours with steel and blood. All you need to know about his soul is the testimony of the rocket launchers and T-72 tanks still flowing into Georgia.

    RealClearPolitics - Articles - Following McCain's Lead on Russia, Iraq

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