Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama's Inexperience, McCain's Instability

The campaign exchanges recall the clichéd barroom banter: "You're ugly." "You're drunk." "But I'll be sober in the morning." Barack Obama's so-called inexperience is fast disappearing as he is tested by world events under Republican fire, while John McCain's Cheney-on-steroids approach is becoming more pronounced all the time.

Abetted by his foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, who was lobbying for the Georgian government until March, McCain has been fanning the embers of the Cold War for some time now.

According to the New York Times, "The intensifying warfare in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has put a new focus on the increasingly hard line that Senator John McCain has taken against Russia in recent years, with stances that have often gone well beyond those of the Bush administration and its focus on engagement."

In a situation where the US and the UN have few practical options for restraining Putin, Obama is taking a more nuanced approach reminiscent of JFK and Reagan efforts to resist Soviet aggression without provoking needless showdowns by calling for direct talks for an end to the violence and emphasizing that "the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis."

After speaking with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Obama dispelled any doubts about his firmness: "I condemn Russia's aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate cease fire."

In an era too complicated for the pseudo-tough talk of the Neo-Cons, McCain is even getting some pressure for moderation from the poster boy of the 20th century cold warriors.

“If Henry Kissinger thinks that I’m wrong," McCain reveals, "he’ll pick up the phone--and he has, several times, and say ‘You’re wrong on this; you shouldn’t be so hard on the Russians, O.K.?'"

Obama's experience with foreign crises is sobering, but will McCain's attitudes be any less ugly the morning after the presidential election?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This doesn't make sense. Both Obama and McCain want to create a path for Georgia to a part of NATO.

While that's awesome, McCain has a record of having that position, Obama doesn't. That isn't the worst of it, however. The Obama campaign's initial reaction to this matter was to blast the Georgia lobbyist that now works for McCain.

What was that Georgia lobbyist in charge of? Creating a path for Georgio to join NATO.

The Obama campaign can't continue to recycle these "Washington insider" type of attacks.