John McCain, in a moment of staggering stupidity that would have sunk his campaign were he still running in the primaries, commented yesterday on the Russia-Georgia conflict:
In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.
Such a statement is revelatory, but the question is “what is it revealing?”
I have seen McCain speaking on television frequently, and in the past few months he has, if possible, begun to look more wooden and monotonic than in the past, back when he was just boring and uninspiring. The series of grocery store speeches he gave while Obama was wooing Europe are some of the most dull and lifeless forays into public mumbling I’ve seen since doing high-school French dialogues. He is apparently very poor with the teleprompter and known to wing it all too often for his campaign organizers to feel comfortable, so maybe this was simply an unintentional slip from a man who has been campaigning hard for a year and is probably underslept and stressed. Nevertheless, this is not good for the guy who has opted to run on his ability to be Commander-in-Chief.
Unless, of course, his campaign is slyly trying to keep hold of Bush voters by sending out a signal – John McCain is just as stupid as George W Bush – park your vote with the dullard.
What happens if McCain did not screw up? What is it saying about his campaign if he intended to make this statement? Certainly, telling Russia “we can invade soveriegn nations in the name of freedom, but you can’t enslave them to your wicked ways” is a throwback to the good ol’ days of the Cold War when the US and the USSR merrily re-jigged national borders in the 20th-Century version of The Great Game. If this is the intention, then is McCain showing us his vision of a new Cold War, one with an extra dozen or so nations with nuclear weapons and non-state cells like al Qaeda thrown in for good measure? Is this a merger of the old and new? Are we about to see a renewed colonialism in which the fear of terrorism has replaced the fear of communism as the rationale? Have things changed so little?
Is the McCain campaign so desparate to reincarnate Ronald Reagan that they would be willing to push Cold War aphorisms to shake the rust off of the US image?
Update: How simple-minded could I be? I overlooked graft in my little analysis above. The Washington Post (and others) have pointed out that Randy Scheunemann, one of McCain’s top foreign policy advisors, is a lobbyist for the Georgian government, and was integral in drafting McCain’s regional “policy”.
Can you imagine, John McCain the Maverick, who claims to reduce the impact of lobbyists in DC while placing a cadre of them at high levels in his campaign team, acting as bagman for his paid lobbyist.
Anyone that would vote for John McCain is an idiot. I could understand not wanting to vote for Obama – a person might disagree with his policies, but to want to vote for this old twat would take a special kind of stupidity.