Just as Obama’s glow from his “endorsement” by Nuri al-Maliki had begun to fade, along comes Putin to remind voters what a dangerous place the world really is–and that putting a very junior Senator at the helm would be insanity.
Before Obama’s 200 national security advisors could reach consensus, the voters were also reminded of McCain’s long-standing admonition that he didn’t see Putin’s soul when looking into his eyes–he saw the letters “K-G-B.”
And as for Obama (in the words of Rich Lowry in Real Clear Politics)…
the Bush and Obama statements in the immediate wake of the crisis could have been issued by a joint campaign. Bush’s spokeswoman urged “all parties,” both Georgians and Russians, “to de-escalate the tension and avoid conflict.” Obama declared that “now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint.” In their implied moral equivalence, these reactions were a little like urging the Kuwaitis to de-escalate with Saddam’s Iraq in August 1990
Putin might as well have uploaded an ad for McCain on Youtube. Here’s Lowry’s take on McCain’s history with Russia and Putin…
McCain’s proposal from a few months ago to boot Russia from the G-8 has gone from seeming needlessly provocative to practically prescient. Together with the surge in Iraq, the Georgian crisis is the second strategic matter on which everyone else has followed the senator’s lead.
McCain warned of Russian designs on its “near-abroad” when Boris Yeltsin was still in power, and advocated the enlargement of NATO into Eastern Europe — as a way to cement those countries into the West and check Russian adventurism — years before the Clinton administration adopted it as policy.
McCain’s judgment benefits from years of marinating in national-security issues and traveling and getting to know the key players; from a hatred of tinpot dictators and bloody thugs that guides his moral compass; and from a flinty realism (verging at times on fatalism) that is resistant to illusions about personalities, or the inevitable direction of History, or the nature of the world.
Here’s a link to an earlier post which illustrates McCain’s prescience on Russia (Youtube video embed’s from 1999 & 2000).