You remember Hillary’s infamous 3:00 a.m. ad. Russia’s invasion of Georgia presented Senators McCain and Obama with a true 3:00 a.m. moment.
Their responses to the crisis suggest dramatic differences in how each candidate would lead America during an international crisis.
McCain got it right from the start. In his initial statement, McCain sided clearly with America’s ally, Georgia, took Russia to task for violating Georgia’s sovereign territory, noted danger to Euro-Atlantic stability and security, called for diplomatic pressure on Russia, and a review of what NATO can do to stabilize the situation:
Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave.
The government of Georgia has called for a cease-fire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. Finally, the international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia.
“I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict,” Obama said in a statement. “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full-scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected.”
Obama called for direct talks among all sides and said the United States, U.N. Security Council and other parties should try to help bring about a peaceful resolution.
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