Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cold Warrior

Well, John McCain is in his element now. The war (and let's call it a war, shall we? not a border skirmish or an incursion but a war) between Georgia and Russia has given him a great boost of energy. Belligerent posturing seems to be his preferred rhetorical style. His rhetoric the past few days has us returning to the days of the Cold War (before the "end of history" if you will recall), the era of Regan and Goldwater and Viet Nam POW camps. According to McCain, Russia is trying to re-establish its old empire. Well, forget for a moment that we have always been a pretty imperialistic nation ourselves and consider that there is indeed a conflict going on that has no easy answers. Georgia has two provinces wherein the population is predominantly Russian and where the majorities did not want to leave the mother land to be part of Georgia. It is very like the situation with the Kurds in Northern Iraq, whom we are more than willing to help gain autonomy. But since Georgia is an ally and Russia an old foe, we have to play the unionist and not the confederate card on this one (even though we played the confederate card fifteen years ago when Georgia wanted to split from Russia after the wall fell).

McCain must feel cheated now that a cease fire is in place. I don't know if the cease fire will last, but it is bad news for McCain because memories of the Cold War only boost his chances. He once accused Barak Obama of being willing to loose a war to win an election. Would it be fair to ask whether or not Mr. McCain would be willing to loose Georgia to win an election (the one in Asia, I mean)?

Here's another item worth pondering. Both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain favor Georgia's membership in NATO. Under the NATO treaty, we would have had to go to war with Russia this week. That's right, a real shooting war with the other great nuclear power in the world. One hopes that would have been enough to deter Russia from invading as it did for 40 years in Europe. But it is certainly worth a public debate among the candidates as to whether or not expansion into the former Soviet bloc is worth risk. It's also worth examining the advisors on McCain's payroll who have ties to Georgia. But no: we have to talk about Hilary's campaign infighting and John Edwards' affair.


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