Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thanks McCain and Scheunamann for the Continuing Georgia Fiasco! Talk About a Foreign Policy Disaster...

(Bela Szandelszky/AP Photo)

Breaking info from the newswires:
"Georgians with their eyes covered sit atop of a Russian armored personnel carrier while being detained by Russian troops in the Black Sea port city of Poti, western Georgia, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. Russian troops entered the port of Poti on Tuesday, to detain people and to loot US military equipment left behind after a joint Georgian, US military exercise. The movements of Russian forces in Georgia raised questions about whether Russia was fulfilling its side of the cease-fire intended to end the short but intense fighting between Georgians, Russians and its allies".

McCain and his foreign policy advisor Scheunamann's dealings with the government of Georgia and the ongoing foreign policy disaster unfolding in the region need to be investigated. This is what we would look forward to under a McCain presidency: blindfolded troops captured and carted off by an emboldened aggressor. Already the Russians are stealing US military equipment. Would US troops be captured and blindfolded next?

James Zogby has more:

"There have been concerns raised that McCain's closeness to Georgia and its president may, in fact, have clouded his judgment. McCain continually refers to the Georgian President as "my friend Misha," and notes that, since the crisis began, they have spoken on the phone several times a day. And, in an emotional address on August 14th, he told a cheering Pennsylvania crowd, "Today we are all Georgians." It has also been revealed that Scheunemann has, until recently, been a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government. His two-man firm has recorded almost a million dollars in receipts from the Georgian government since 2004, with almost $300,000 coming during the very time period when Scheunemann was serving as a paid McCain advisor.

All of this has raised questions about whether or not, as a result of this too-close embrace, Saakashvili had unreasonable expectations of U.S. support, causing him to make a strategic miscalculation in approaching this conflict.

Obama, like McCain, has long-supported Georgia's entry into NATO, and expressed concern about Russian ambitions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Nevertheless, on July 23rd, Obama noted that only a political settlement can resolve the conflicts; and, while he called on Russia to roll back its aggressive actions, also called on the Georgian government to "resist the temptation to be drawn into military conflict."

Zogby ends his article with a telling line:
"The conflict between Russia and Georgia did not begin on August 8th, and it won't end anytime soon. Bluster will not push the Russians back, nor will (nearly empty) threats of retaliation. And, as we learned in Iraq, there's an enormous difference between being tough and certain, and smart and thoughtful. The former makes good sound bites, and leads to chaos.

Given a choice, if the phone rings in the White House at 3 a.m., I'd rather have the smart guy answering the phone and hope the tough guy stays asleep."

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