Bush pressed the other NATO powers to place Georgia’s application for membership on the fast track. The Europeans rejected the idea, understanding the geo-strategic implications of pushing NATO’s boundaries right up to Russia’s border. If the Europeans had let Bush have his way, we would now be obligated by treaty to send troops in Georgia’s defense. That is to say, we would now be in a shooting war with the Russians. Those who might oppose entering such a war would be accused of “weakening our credibility” and “destroying the unity of the Western alliance.”
To be fair, refusing to defend a NATO country that had come under attack would weaken the credibility of the alliance. But of course it would be insane to get into a shooting war with Russia — which still has nuclear weapons — to defend Georgia. This is why Bush had no business leading the Georgians on with this kind of crazy talk…
As repellent as I find the prospect of an Obama presidency, the idea of hotheaded John McCain sitting in the Oval Office now trying to figure out how to deal with a newly aggressive Russia makes me extremely nervous — this, to the extent that a McCain administration, on national security and foreign policy, represents a third Bush term.
Maybe Dreher and Kaplan should spray some Windex on their crystal balls.
The way I see it, the Russians not only see us as resource-stretched (and rightly so), what with our commitments to Afghanistan and Iraq, but they also see a lame-duck president.
More importantly, however, I think that they view the American people’s will as weak, and that their own fortune-tellers are envisioning an upcoming administration chock-full of platitudes, yet devoid of substance.
Notice that many of the complaints and criticisms of the way we’re handling the global war on terror link back to 20th century modes of thinking. Comparisons are made to Vietnam, the Cold War, NATO, etc. The problem is, we aren’t living in the 20th century. There is no Soviet Bloc, we aren’t on the verge of nuclear annihilation and, for the most part, we aren’t facing an enemy clothed in identifiable uniforms.
In Rethinking Russia on Terrorism Issues, Douglas Farah states,
…Russia is set on selling weapons to those who want very badly to hurt us, and who buy their weapons with the stated purpose of using them for that.
Everyone sells weapons, and yes, the United States plays in the game. But Russia’s willingness to arm non-state actors and states that are facing international sanction is qualitatively different.
This is the world we face, in the 21st century.