When the Russian tanks roll westward, what defence for you and me? Colonel Sloman’s Essex Rifles? The Light Horse of L.S.E.? -Philip Larkin
You know this is a “Now watch this drive” moment when even the New York Times is attacking Barack Obama for his horribly timed vacation. The One insists on iced cream, you see: and he will not be interrupted in his quest, not by the beach patrol, not by Hawaiian tourists, and most assuredly not by the armed might of Russia.
Only once, at the beginning of the week, did Mr. Obama discuss the fighting in public, when he emerged from his beachfront rental home to condemn Russia’s escalation, in a way that seemed timed for the evening television news. He took no questions whose answers might demonstrate command of the issue.
Mr. McCain and his surrogates, however, have discussed the situation nearly every day on the campaign trail, often taking a hard line against Russia to the point of his declaring the other day, “We are all Georgians.”
It is as if the candidates’ images have been reversed within a matter of a few weeks. When Mr. Obama was overseas last month, Mr. McCain’s foreign policy bona fides seemed diminished, if only because he could not attract the news media attention received by Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Now, Mr. Obama’s voice seems muted at a time when much of the world has been worriedly watching the conflict.
The Russians like this new kitten, and they’re not finished toying with him, not by a long shot. The announcement regarding Poland’s right to exist today is more than just saber-rattling: the world media is focused on the Olympics, there’s a lame duck in the White House and a SecState who’ll be gone even if McCain wins – and all the while the man most likely to be the next President of the United States is lounging on a beach.
It’s the perfect time to set the parameters for the next four years of diplomatic engagement – or engagement of a different variety.
A top Russian general said Friday that Poland’s agreement to accept a U.S. missile defense battery exposes ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.
First Georgia, then Ukraine, then Poland – and of course, not incidentally, there’s that whole thing called “pipelines” in the mix.
But Barack Obama’s not taking any questions. Just put on a lei, order another frozen drink, and watch this drive.