Cross-Posted At Daily Kos
Right now, Fox News is asking me “Which candidate is better handling the Georgia conflict?”
The growing consensus in the media seems to be that it’s John McCain. But, if you look at what’s going on, it becomes immediately clear that Georgia is a losing issue for John McCain.
Let’s take a look at why:
- It exposed another lobbyist scandal.
During the course of the war, it’s come to light that one of McCain’s senior foreign policy advisers was, up until a few months ago, a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government—in fact, his close friend and former business partner is still on Tblisi’s payroll.
McCain’s harsh rhetoric against Russia at the start of the war stemmed from Randy Scheunemann, whose lobbying work for Georgia means he has a major stake in who comes out on top of the South Ossetian War. The fact that McCain would allow someone with such a massive conflict of interest give him advice is a disturbing sign for a potential McCain administration. Do we really want another President who lets his administration be run by conflict-laden advisers and lobbyists?
- It exposes McCain as out-of-touch.
McCain’s foreign policy ‘expertise’ took a hit when it came out that his major speech on Georgia was plagiarized from Wikipedia.
McCain has also made repeated references to Georgia being a ‘democratic’ nation, which is somewhat bizarre when you consider that Russia is also a democracy. And it’s not as if McCain believes only democracies are worthy of defending–he has said that military dictatorship Pakistan is an ally.
And we can’t forget McCain’s assertion that “In the 21st century nations don’t invade other nations.” You’d hope a Presidential candidate would remember the fact that the United States invaded both Iraq and Afghanistan, wars we’re still currently fighting.
Just to pick another example, Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, another event you’d hope a Presidential candidate would remember.
And now there’s this from McCain:
We, we will decide in subsequent days as whether degree of provocation and whe– who was right and who was wrong.
Contrast that to what McCain said at the beginning of this:
“This should be unacceptable to all the democratic countries of the world, and should draw us together in universal condemnation of Russian aggression…Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe.”
So, which is it? Is there ambiguity or is Russia to blame? And if he doesn’t know who’s to blame, why the hard-line rhetoric just a few days ago?
- It exposes McCain’s bad policies.
Think Progress brings us two of the worst:
Isolating and marginalizing our enemies just doesn’t work–just take a look at Iran. North Korea is another great example—the Bush administration engaged of years of dangerous brinksmanship with North Korea to no avail; as soon as they sat down at the negotiating table, they came to an agreement and North Korea began dismantling their nuclear program.
The last thing the U.S. needs is Cold-War-like brinksmanship with Russia, which is exactly what John McCain seems to be pushing for.
– League of Democracies: McCain has cited Russian “behavior” as justification to create a “League of Democracies” — a radical plan with a “hidden agenda” to “kill the United Nations” and one that has been “greeted with alarm by some Republican supporters and wariness by important U.S. allies.”
This is just an institutionalization of the Bush doctrine of ‘isolate and marginalize.’ McCain wants to create a new UN that only includes the countries he wants let in (and I severely doubt they would all just be democracies considering how much McCain talks up ‘allies’ like Pakistan).
The UN is by no means perfect, but one of it’s major upsides is that every nation can be represented there. Take away the only forum that rogue states have to air their grievances and resolve their problems and you have a recipe for disaster.
I’m extraordinarily glad John McCain wasn’t President when this war began. His inconsistency, his lobbying scandal, his cluelessness and his slew of bad policies would have been disastrous.
To back up his hard-right rhetoric, President McCain would have had to either go to war with Russia or renege on his promises, making the President of the United States look like an untrustworthy liar, neither of which is an attractive prospect.
McCain’s behavior since August 8th should be an example to all of us why John McCain should never be allowed anywhere near the White House.