Friday, August 15, 2008

"My friends, we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression."

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So said McCain yesterday at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, providing yet more evidence -- and it's really piling up -- that he is not the straight-talking maverick with international relations expertise that some still make him out to be but a dim-witted buffoon who actually knows very little about the world and who is prepared to do and say anything to score political points, including, as in this case, exaggerate and fearmonger to the point where what he says bears absolutely no resemblance to the truth.

I mean, seriously. This is the first "serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War"? Yes, it's an act of aggression by Russia -- although McCain either doesn't understand or doesn't want to admit that Bush's reckless foreign policy contributed a great deal to causing the crisis (egging on Georgia, provoking Russia, and weakening America's standing internationally) -- but there have been other acts of aggression and other rather serious crises: the Gulf War, 9/11, the Iraq War, North Korea's nuclear tests, etc. Does McCain not remember those crises, or is he just hell-bent on scoring political points by exaggerating the significance of the current conflict in Georgia and resurrecting Cold War geopolitics by vilifying Russia?

Let's face it, McCain has no clue what to do about the conflict in Georgia. His message, however, is this: "It's the Cold War all over again! I was there! I get it! Russia is the Evil Empire! I know what to do! Vote for me!"

The contrast is clear: Obama, whose forward-looking worldview has not been shaped by Cold War geopolitics and a Cold War mindset, understands that the Cold War is over and that the world is a different place, complex and multi-polar, but McCain, whose backward-looking worldview has been shaped to an extreme by Cold War geopolitics and a Cold War mindset, can't seem to get his head around the crises and challenges America and the international community currently face and will continue to face.

And where Obama offers nuanced responses and solutions to those crises and challenges (including re-engagement with the international community, diplomacy from a position of strength, the development of alternative energy to overcome dependency on foreign oil, the strengthening of America's economic base and workforce so as to remain competitive in an increasingly uncertain and competitive global market), McCain offers posturing, blustering, and an approach to foreign and national security policy that is not just obsolete but reckless and dangerous.

For all the talk, and all the mythologizing, that he is some sort of expert in such matters -- and he and his campaign are certainly pumping up his "experience" to contrast him with the younger Obama -- McCain is incredibly stupid, a man of terrible judgment and aggressive disposition who doesn't have a clue.

That's a pretty bad mix for the Oval Office.

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  • The Gulf War was before the end of the Cold War. If you want to accuse someone of misspeaking, you should also know your facts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:45 PM  

  • Anon, when did the Cold War end? A lot of people consider that happened with the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was in November 1989.

    The Warsaw Pact went out of business in July 1991, and the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991. The Gulf War was in February 1991, but by and large, the Cold War was pretty much over when they tore down the wall.

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 3:56 PM  

  • My point exactly, MB. Thanks for the comment!

    I would say the Cold War ended with the fall of the Wall, but, in reality, it ended well before that, notably with Gorbachev's reforms.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:16 PM  

  • "I would say..."

    You can say all you want. DoD puts the official date for the Cold War from September 2, 1945 -- to December 26, 1991.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 AM  

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