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December 2, 2010 / joninews

McCain Dangerously Wrong on Georgia, Reckless?

http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/origin/13_0.html

McCain Dangerously Wrong on Georgia

As the New York Times revealed, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/europe/02wikile…  on the former Soviet republic of Georgia the Bush administration abandoned the skepticism and indirect sourcing that defined U.S. diplomacy during the Cold War. The Tblisi cables, the Times reported, “display some of the perils of a close relationship”:
A 2008 batch of American cables from another country once in the cold war’s grip — Georgia — showed a much different sort of access. In Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, American officials had all but constant contact and an open door to President Mikheil Saakashvili and his young and militarily inexperienced advisers, who hoped the United States would help Georgia shake off its Soviet past and stand up to Russia’s regional influence…

The cables show that for several years, as Georgia entered an escalating contest with the Kremlin for the future of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway enclaves out of Georgian control that received Russian support, Washington relied heavily on the Saakashvili government’s accounts of its own behavior. In neighboring countries, American diplomats often maintained their professional distance, and privately detailed their misgivings of their host governments. In Georgia, diplomats appeared to set aside skepticism and embrace Georgian versions of important and disputed events.

By 2008, as the region slipped toward war, sources outside the Georgian government were played down or not included in important cables. Official Georgian versions of events were passed to Washington largely unchallenged.

The last cables before the eruption of the brief Russian-Georgian war showed an embassy relaying statements that would with time be proved wrong.

But for John McCain, honored this year by President Saakashvili as a “National Hero of Georgia”, all that mattered was U.S. presidential politics.

By the time hostilities commenced in South Ossetia in August 2008, McCain’s animus towards Russia, which he repeatedly pledged to eject from the G-8, was already the stuff of legend. But seeing an opportunity to capitalize on his perceived advantage over Barack Obama on national security issues, McCain moved quickly and aggressively to commit the United States to Georgia’s defense.

On his campaign bus in Pennsylvania, McCain told reporters, “I think it’s very clear that Russian ambitions are to restore the old Russian empire.” Three days later on August 14, 2008, McCain penned the now-famous Wall Street Journal op-ed

“We Are All Georgians” which opportunistically appropriated global sentiment towards the United States after the horror of 9/11:

“As I told President Saakashvili on the day the cease-fire was declared, today we are all Georgians. We mustn’t forget it.”

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/12/2/924931/-Wikileaks-Confirms-McCain…

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