Georgia and a truculent John McCain
Sen. John McCain has seized upon the crisis in Georgia as an issue that supposedly
points up the importance of his experience in national security affairs. In such crises, he claims, he is far more prepared to be commander-in-chief than Barack Obama.
Considering the complexity of the situation in Georgia, however,I would feel more comfortable with Obama in the White House. Judging from his truculent reaction to the Russian invasion of Georgia, I fear that if McCain was now President, we would be shipping troops to Georgia. "We are all Georgians!" he declared emotionally when the war there began.
What makes the crisis in Georgia so complex is that this isn't a simple issue of "good guys" versus the "bad guys."
Both the Russians and their South Ossetian allies are clearly the bad-est of the bad guys. But the Georgians, who are now victimized by the Russians, provoked the crisis by moving troops into South Ossetia to reclaim a separatist region that had declared its independence.
Russia, which contains the semi-autonomous, related state of North Ossetia, responded with overwhelming force, crushing the Georgians. It continues to occupy part of Georgian territory.
I wonder whether either President Bush or the truculent Sen. McCain even knew where South Ossetia was located before the crisis began. And if they did, they probably failed to appreciate the Ossetians' desire for independence from Georgia to join North Ossetia as a unified state.
Bush squandered America's moral authority by invading and occupying Iraq, which weakens his ability to react to the Russian aggression in Georgia. Moreover, he is stoking Russia's traditional paranoia by insisting on an expansion of NATO, which would have included Georgia, and planning to install an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
McCain may boast about his national security credentials, but he has displayed a hot-headed approach to foreign affairs. Only a decade ago, he was calling for an aerial attack on North Korea's nuclear facilities. He is probably now in favor of doing the same in Iran.
Bush has planted the seeds for a renewal of the cold war with Russia. McCain appears ready to "harvest the crop" if he is elected as Bush's successor.