Day By Day

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Responding to Putin

Mark Silva, over at the Swamp, summarizes the activity of the Bush administration in response to Putin's invasion of Georgia. An awful lot of diplomacy has been going on behind the scenes and Bush is in the process of forging a coordinated western response to counter Russia's expansionism. Those who accuse the President of inaction simply don't know what they are talking about.

Silva also discusses John McCain's remarks, which advocate even stronger actions than have to this point been undertaken, and suggests that McCain is implicitly criticizing Bush. This is nonsense. McCain's recommendations:

"We should work toward the establishment of an independent, international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions, and stand ready to help our Georgian partners put their country back together. This will entail reviewing anew our relations with both Georgia and Russia. As the NATO secretary general has said, Georgia remains in line for alliance membership, and I hope NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine.

"At the same time, we must make clear to Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world. The U.S. has cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Russia, an important step in this direction.

Contra Silva, these in no way contradict the actions already undertaken by President Bush nor to they contradict future actions the administration is likely to take. Silva is playing the old journalistic game of "lets you and him fight". While reporting accurately on the extensive actions taken by the administration, he creates a false impression that there is a conflict between Bush and McCain when in fact the two men seem to be in broad agreement.

Read the whole thing here.