Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ever feel like John McCain is magically guessing where you stand on foreign policy issues? It’s more likely than you think!

Today John McCain took time out of his busy morning schedule, typically filled with hours of awkward pauses and puzzling gaffes, to make a phone call to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. Echoing earlier hawkish statements, McCain told Saakashvili that “all Americans” back his country's efforts to thwart military attacks from Russia.

Am I the only one who doesn’t remember endorsing this statement? I’m sure McCain wouldn’t say something like that without checking first, but I just can’t recall when he asked me. It might have been late last night- I was pretty sleepy for a while, and I would have to be pretty out of it to say that I’m backing Georgia here.

Georgia certainly gets points for being a democracy, I’ll give them that. I also like the confusion their name wreaks on the internet- how many millions of people spent at least a few seconds wondering what a Russian army division was doing just north of Florida? Beyond this their case is pretty indefensible, sadly. Georgian troops, by all accounts other than that of Saakashvili, started the fight by attacking South Ossetia. Given that South Ossetia is deeply tied to Russia (many Ossetians have Russian passports) and with no evidence that South Ossetians want to rejoin Georgia, the attack looks entirely unwarranted. The idea that we are in any way obligated to help Georgia seems similarly absurd. I’m pretty sure NATO and other mutual-defense treaties were designed to help protect against aggression, not to enable small, militarily weak countries to pointlessly attack Russia.

The fact that Cheney and McCain are both vehemently backing Georgia really should have been all the proof I needed that Georgia was in the wrong. Still, I needed more. So I took an internet fieldtrip to try to prove an old theory- if in doubt, see what Bill Kristol has to say about it. Knowing that he’s absolutely wrong on every issue, without fail, 100% of the time, all you really need to do is check out his latest op-ed column. The result of my scientific study? Sure enough, Kristol accuses Russia of starting the conflict despite all evidence to the contrary, and apparently hopes to see American nukes destroying all of Russia at the earliest possible moment.

Next time you’re baffled by a complicated foreign policy decision, don’t just assume John McCain is right. Assume that Bill Kristol is wrong.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of a Bill Kristol test, and I think we should spread it to other issues as well as foreign policy.

    Taking this idea to campaigns, I've always thought it would almost be worth hiring a mark penn or bob shrum so that you could just to the opposite of what they suggested.