Barack Obama has been criticized for acting as though he is already President. That’s natural, since the actions in question have been presumptuous: the pseudo-Presidential seal, the speech in Germany, and so on. Today, one might say that John McCain is acting as though he is already President, but in a substantive and positive way. In his response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, McCain is giving us a preview of what sort of President he would be.
McCain has strongly and unequivocally come out in support of our ally Georgia, while placing the onus for the war squarely where it belongs, on Russia. In this, he has aligned himself with our most loyal European allies. Obama, on the other hand, issued the sort of vapid statement that would ingratiate him with the State Department while not requiring any distraction from his Hawaii vacation. An interesting point, by the way: McCain is supposed to be the old guy, but Obama is the one who needs a vacation.
Here is the latest from the McCain campaign:
This afternoon I spoke, for the second time since the crisis began, with Georgian President Saakashvili. It is clear the situation is dire. Russian aggression against Georgia continues, with attacks occurring far beyond the Georgian region of South Ossetia. As casualties continue to mount, the international community must do all it can to avert further escalations. Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border. I again call on the Government of Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia.
Given this threat to Euro-Atlantic security, I am pleased to see the United States, the European Union, and NATO acting together by sending a delegation to the region, in an effort to broker a cease fire. This is an important first step.
The United Nations has been prevented from taking any meaningful action by Russian objections. In view of this, I welcome the statements of democratic nations defending the sovereignty of Georgia and condemning Russian actions.
I strongly support the declaration issued by the Presidents of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and their commitment that ‘aggression against a small country in Europe will not be passed over in silence or with meaningless statements equating the victims with the victimizers.‘
I doubt that the Europeans were thinking of Obama when they wrote this, but who knows? Maybe they had seen this “meaningless statement equating the victims with the victimizers” from the Obama campaign:
It’s both sides’ fault — both have been somewhat provocative with each other.
McCain’s statement continues:
I share their regret that NATO’s decision to withhold from Georgia a Membership Action Plan may have been viewed as a green light for aggression in the region. As they propose, a new international peacekeeping force should be created, in light of — as they observe — the ‘obvious bankruptcy of Russian “peacekeeping operations” in its immediate neighborhood.’ In addition, Finnish Foreign Minister Stubb, the Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has said there can be no return to the status quo in South Ossetia and that Russia cannot serve as a mediator in the South Ossetian conflict. Each of these leaders represents a country that has undergone what Georgia is now experiencing.
That last is a key point, but one that is no doubt lost on Obama and his advisers. It is often said that Obama is not ready to be President, but I don’t think this is exactly right. It seems pretty obvious that Obama, given his temperament, his self-regard, his blithe ignorance of history and of the material conditions of life on this planet, will never be ready to be President. He is not unready: he is unsuited for, and inadequate to, the office.
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