Out of Control Policy Blog

Has Putin Elected McCain?

An unexpected consequence of Russia's militarism in Georgia may be getting John McCain elected president of the US in November. As part of the response to Russia's invasion of Georgia, the US and Poland brokered a deal to install US missiles in Poland. The Russian reaction was something right out of the Cold War:

At a news conference on Friday, a senior Russian defense official, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, suggested that Poland was making itself a target by agreeing to host the anti-missile system. Such an action "cannot go unpunished," he said.

Apparently, the Russian's are expecting the West to roll over, Neville Chamberlain-style, as it expands its control over the former Soviet states and Eastern Bloc satellite nations. Note the following from the New York Times:

The deal [with Poland] reflected growing alarm in a range of countries that had been part of the Soviet sphere about a newly rich and powerful Russia's intentions in its former cold war sphere of power. In fact, negotiations dragged on for 18 months – but were completed only as old memories and new fears surfaced in recent days.

Those fears were codified to some degree in what Polish and American officials characterized as unusual aspects of the final deal: that at least temporarily American soldiers would staff air defense sites in Poland oriented toward Russia, and that the United States would be obliged to defend Poland in case of an attack with greater speed than required under NATO, of which Poland is a member.

If Americans view Russia as a real threat to internatinoal stability, the Russians may have just given John McCain the boost he needed to become president. As our colleague Matt Welch has chronicled in McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, Sen. McCain comes from a staunchily militarist background reflective of Teddy Roosevelt's "Big Stick" foreign policy. Soft peddling military aggression by Russia is more likley to be the style of Barak Obama, and could project him as the weaker of the candidates come November.

Once again, the lights of liberty dim for East and West.

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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