Friday, May 2, 2008

Would McCain reprise the Cold War?

That is a justified fear when he makes pronouncements like he would like to kick Russia out of the G-8. It didn't get much notice when he made his sweeping foreign policy speech in March - perhaps because of the media mancrush that we have been diligently documenting - but this is definitely worth examination. Not because he could actually do it - the United States is only one of eight member nations, as the name indicates, and the other seven would not go for it - but because such a position would further alienate the few allies we have left.
The Group of Eight, or G-8, as it's popularly known, makes decisions by consensus, so no single nation can kick out another. Most experts say the six other countries — Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada — would never agree to toss Russia, given their close economic ties to their neighbor. A senior U.S. official who deals with Russia policy said that even Moscow would have to approve of its own ouster, given how the G-8 works.

"It's not even a theoretical discussion. It's an impossible discussion," said the senior official, who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. "It's just a dumb thing."

Aside from that, many wonder whether McCain's suggestion would be wise policy. They fear that if McCain is elected and follows through on an attempt to toss Russia from the group, it could anger and isolate Russia, which has been increasingly assertive on the world stage, autocratic within its borders and is the second-largest producer of the hydrocarbons that feed the world's energy needs.

"In Europe, there's very little support ... for a policy like that," said Stephen Larrabee, an expert on Europe and Russia at the RAND think tank. "It's too late in the game to try and oust Russia."

The proposal also seemed at odds with the theme of McCain's speech, which promised a less unilateral approach to world affairs than the Bush White House has pursued. That could reflect tension between two Republican foreign-policy camps vying for influence in McCain's campaign: the pragmatic realists and the hard-line neo-conservatives — with the neo-cons ascendant for now in Russia policy.

"There are a lot of important issues that we need Russia's support on. ...What's to be gained by tossing Russia out? We feel more self-righteous about ourselves?" said Andrew Kuchins, the director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, a center-right think tank.

Let's call this idiocy what it is...the crankery of a backward-thinking cold-war codger, unable to turn around and embrace the future so he cleaves to the comfort of the known, i.e. the past.

And here is all you need to know about just how stupid this idea really is...Heritage wankers think it's a splendid notion....and when was the last time those chuckleheads were right about any damned thing?

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