Monday, August 11, 2008

World War III, anyone?

True to form, McCain is calling for NATO to deploy peacekeeping troops to Georgia:
NATO's North Atlantic Council should convene in emergency session to demand a ceasefire and begin discussions on both the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to South Ossetia and the implications for NATO's future relationship with Russia, a Partnership for Peace nation. NATO's decision to withhold a Membership Action Plan for Georgia might have been viewed as a green light by Russia for its attacks on Georgia, and I urge the NATO allies to revisit the decision.
Now, McCain may be calling, like Obama, for deployment of a peacekeeping force after the Russians have somehow been induced to withdraw. If so, it's unclear how either candidate envisions getting the Russians to withdraw - via a Security Council resolution they're sure to veto? But McCain, by calling on NATO to begin discussions on deployment of such a force, seems to suggest that NATO might send troops to impose peace.

If that's the case, then McCain, ever ready to risk war in Korea, Iraq and Iran, has distinguished himself as the first western leader since World War II to intimate that it might be a good idea to start a ground war with Russia.

More likely, placing discussion of a peacekeeping force in the NATO context is a bit of shadow bluster, of a piece with proposing that the G7 meet without Russia -- suggesting that the antecedents of McCain's fantasy League of Democracies might somehow craft a solution without engaging Russia, by sheer force of will.

Of course, McCain is not wasting the opportunity to paint Obama as soft on...everything. Perhaps he'd rather threaten war than lose an election. And as President, much evidence suggests that when faced with crisis, McCain would rather start a war than be cast by any critic in the Neville Chamberlain role he habitually hangs on his opponents.

P.S. It's rather creative of McCain to suggest that Russia may have been encouraged to act by NATO's hesitance to fast-track Georgian NATO membership, rather than provoked to act because NATO is considering inviting Georgia to join.

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