John McCain’s latest editorial is entitled “We Are All Georgians” and I have to say pretty bluntly that McCain absolutely does not speak for me.
First off, McCain’s not the President. Obviously he knows this, but when he says something so broad it feels like he’s speaking for America. Perhaps this isn’t what he meant, but after 5 years in Iraq, I think it’s pretty presumptuous to align the entire US population with another country’s strategy of pre-emptive attack…even if it’s symbolic.
And yes, the Russians overreached in response and their march towards Georgia’s capital is troubling to say the very least. But to suggest, as he does in the editorial, that he knows that regime change is Russia’s goal is overreaching in its own right. This is not how you play this game. You don’t tell the “enemy” what they should do to piss you off because it’s more likely to incite increased aggression in exactly that direction. Well, unless you’re itching to be aggressive…
Case in point…look at how this latest conflict shook out. Russia said time and again they’d defend South Ossetia. Georgia didn’t listen. Look what happened. Sure, Russia was itching for a fight, and Georgia played right into their hands. It seems like McCain is attempting a similar strategy, but, reality check, who reading this wants to get into a war with Russia over Georgia?
Long story short, McCain would do well to back down from his increasingly hard line rhetoric. Because as we’ve seen in the past 7 years, we can talk tough all we want, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, the consequences are insanely costly, not just in blood and treasure, but also in credibility. And we could have used a lot more of it in this situation.