The outbreak of war in Georgia on Friday offers a disturbing and somewhat surreal taste of what to expect from John McCain should he become our nation’s Commander in Chief. As the centuries-old ethnic animosities between Georgia and Ossetia boiled over into another armed conflict, drawing in neighboring Russia, McCain issued a stark-raving statement from Des Moines that is disturbingly reminiscent of the language used in the lead-up to NATO’s war against Yugoslavia in 1999, a war McCain zealously pushed for:
“We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation,” McCain said.
Calling on NATO to “stabilize this dangerous situation” is not going down well with Russia, where images of dead Russian peacekeepers and of frightened Ossetian refugees streaming across its borders have put the country in a very vengeful mood. It’s hard to imagine what measures NATO could take under a McCain presidency, but in the mind of a man who thinks US troops should stay in Iraq for 100 years, and who runs around singing “Bomb Bomb Iran!” it’s not hard to guess–and even harder not to be horrified by what it may mean come January 2009, should he win.
McCain’s call to NATO-ize the war is not only frightening, it’s also delusional: both NATO and US forces are already stretched beyond the breaking point, even by Joint Chief of Staff chairman Michael Millen’s own recent assessment.
But McCain’s brain remains undeterred by reality, a fact that became painfully clear today in Des Moines when he also demanded, “The US should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course.”
The problem with McCain’s bold demand about going to the UN is that Russia already tried doing exactly what McCain called for–and got rejected by McCain’s neocon pals in the Bush Administration. Early this morning, Russia convened an emergency session of the UN Security Council, calling on both sides to immediately cease hostilities, return to the negotiating table and renounce the use of force–but the last part about renouncing the use of force is exactly what Georgia’s president Mikhail Saakashvili refuses to do.
The Bush Administration showed that it too has no patience with crunchy “renounce the use of force” resolutions. According to a Reuters report from earlier in the day:
At the request of Russia, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency session in New York but failed to reach consensus early Friday on a Russian-drafted statement.
The council concluded it was at a stalemate after the United States, Britain and some other members backed the Georgians in rejecting a phrase in the three-sentence draft statement that would have required both sides “to renounce the use of force,” council diplomats said.
The meaning of this is clear: the United States and Britain are backing Saakashvili’s invasion. Why would we back Saakashvili’s reckless war, when last year even Bush was denouncing the Pinochet-wannabe’s violent attack on his own people during a peaceful opposition protest in Georgia’s capital, as well as shutting down the opposition media and exiling of political opponents? That would be a brain-teaser if the last seven years hadn’t answered this question so many painful times already.