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Putin’s Eyes

If something is broken you should try to fix it

Those who are fond of repeating the Democrats’ talking point that a McCain victory would be a “Bush third term” should consider this:

After meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2001, President Bush said:

I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue.I was able to get a sense of his soul.

John McCain suggests that there’s something different in those eyes:

I looked into his eyes and saw three letters: a K, a G and a B.

Putin is going to cause us a lot of difficulties… they are trying to reassert the Russian empire…and they are going to be a thorn in our side.

Just like McCain correctly predicted that the troop surge would put us on the path to victory in Iraq long before Bush even considered the change in strategy, the Arizona Senator’s assessment of Russia’s strong man spot on.

What did Barack Obama have to say about the Russian leader before Putin showed his hand with the latest act of Russian aggression? Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov had this to say after the Democrat Party presidential candidate delivered his speech in Germany:

While Mr. Obama talked about the importance of receiving Russia’s help in containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Reuters reported that Tehran is acquiring advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles from the Kremlin. This is the cooperation the West has earned by including Russia in the G-8.

In Berlin, Mr. Obama repeatedly mentioned the 1948 Berlin airlift. On CNN, he said he would like to “bring back the kind of foreign policy that characterized the Truman administration with Marshall and Acheson and Kennan.” A strange statement, since President Harry Truman fought against giving up an inch to the communists on any front around the world. Not only did Truman save West Berlin; South Korea, Taiwan and Western Europe also have much to thank him for. By contrast, in their July 9 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Obama advisers Madeleine Albright and William Perry, secretaries of state and defense under Bill Clinton, criticized Sen. McCain’s proposal to respond to major powers’ human-rights abuses with more than lip service.

Mr. Obama also asked if the West would stand up for “the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe.” Commendable, but what about the political prisoner in China and the recently convicted blogger in Russia? Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev both came to power in blatantly fraudulent elections. The hypocrisy of condemning one while embracing the other destroys American and European credibility, and undermines any attempt at global leadership. Those of us living behind the Iron Curtain at the time were grateful Ronald Reagan did not go to Berlin in 1987 to denounce the lack of freedom in, say, Angola.

In short, the candidate of change sounds like he would perpetuate the destructive double standards of the current administration. Meanwhile, the supposedly hidebound Mr. McCain is imaginative enough to suggest that if something is broken you should try to fix it.

Another checkmate well played by Mr. Kasparov.

- JP

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