Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain vs. Obama on Foreign Policy.

By the end of the dabate Friday night, both presidential candidates tried to show their audience why they were better suited to be a president. McCain used the same refrain of attacking Obama for his "lack of experience" and he used the Russian invasion of Georgia as a a case in point:
And I -- and I honestly don't believe that Senator Obama has the knowledge or experience and has made the wrong judgments in a number of areas, including his initial reaction to Russian invasion -- aggression in Georgia, to his -- you know, we've seen this stubbornness before in this administration to cling to a belief that somehow the surge has not succeeded and failing to acknowledge that he was wrong about the surge is -- shows to me that we -- that -- that we need more flexibility in a president of the United States than that.
Earlier in the debate McCain accused Obama of not understanding the situation between Georgia and Russia :
Well, I was interested in Senator Obama’s reaction to the Russian aggression against Georgia. His first statement was, “Both sides ought to show restraint.” Again, a little bit of naivete there. He doesn’t understand that Russia committed serious aggression against Georgia. And Russia has now become a nation fueled by petro-dollars that is basically a KGB apparatchik-run government.”
As we have posted before, it must be first reminded that Georgia was not merely a victim in this case. Russia's response was certainly disproportionate but it is Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili who triggered the actual war by attacking Russian troops. In fact, it is MCain's reaction that was not only wrong but hasty and dangerous.
Former Secretary of State Colin Owell also seems to clearly believe that McCain didn't handle the situation very well in this case:

Well of course, McCain has a long history with Georgia that may explain some of his strong reaction.

In the end, the debate had the merit of giving us two clear different visions : McCain's vision is simple and bellicous: "Us vs. Them", resembling Bush's vision of "Good vs. Evil". (It has the advantage of being understood by any one with even a simple mind which makes it precisely very dangerous.). And the other is more complex and subtle and may be harder to sell to some people but in essence it gives us the hope that the US should respected again for its values.

McCain/Bush's vision has already led us to an unnecessary war, how many more are needed before we tried somethign different?


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