Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A la carte commitments

John McCain thinks that the US is locked into Iraq for a long time as a result of actions already taken by George Bush. He, or at least his foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann has a more flexible view of what counts as a Bush commitment when it comes to Russia -- where Bush and Vladimir Putin set out a positive-sounding framework for US-Russia relations at their farewell summit in Sochi --

Mr Scheunemann added that given what he depicted as the problems of working with Russia in the United Nations Security Council, the US would have to “look beyond the UN” and work with countries and groups of states in imposing sanctions on Tehran.

For several years Mr McCain has also endorsed the idea of expelling Russia from the G8 group of industrialised nations.

Mr Scheunemann went on to describe a framework agreement adop­ted last month by President George W. Bush and Mr Putin as “a legacy document between two outgoing ­presidents.”

So McCain would cobble together a new coalition of the willing to impose sanctions on Iran (and perhaps some other stuff), expel Russia from the G8, and dump the final understanding between Bush and Putin as a "legacy document". Which of course it is. But has McCain thought through the implications of such an aggressive posture towards Russia? In Iraq, everything is predetermined. With Russia, everything can be made up on the fly.

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