Wednesday, August 13, 2008

georgia and mccain

The Georgia mess (now with a cease-fire?) has allowed John McCain to show his true colors. The colors of a flame-breathing hawk, ready to threaten force as a first resort regardless of whether the use of force is likely to succeed, and whether or not it is being used in defense of vital US interests.

McCain said this is the "3:00 AM" moment that proves he is ready to be President, and Obama isn't. Au contraire, Alphonse. Part of the (stupid) 3:00 AM concept is responding rationally. Going over the top about Georgia and Russia is not rational.

Yes, Russia's response to Georgia's provocation has been over the top and brutally effective. No, it should not be surprising - remember Russia's reaction to Kosovo independence. We shoved that one down their throat, as we've been forcing Russia to accept other provocations - NATO membership and military guarantees for the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvaa, and Lithuania, for example, as well as for Poland and other ex-Soviet bloc countries. Not to mention the de facto Bush Administration's efforts to get NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia.

How would we respond if Russia or China for example gave military guarantees to the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and Honduras? Very dimly, since we see that as our backyard. Well, Georgia is Russia's.

That's not to say we give Russia a free hand. Criticizing them is fine. But equating this to 1938 or the crushing of Hungary in 1956 is also unrealistic, as is any implication that this Russian action touches on vital US interests. It does not.

And I don't know that McCain understands that. A Russian invasion of Poland? That's a problem for us all. A Russian invasion of Georgia? A problem mostly for Georgia, unfortunately, and one that we realistically cannot do anything about militarily, assuming we don't think South Ossetia is worth risking a mushroom cloud over Chicago.

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