McCain Forgets That Big Talk Can Cost Lives

Cold War should have taught US leaders not to encourage ill-fated gambles like Georgia's
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2008 1:09 PM CDT
McCain Forgets That Big Talk Can Cost Lives
The Washington Post's David Ignatius claims John McCain's rhetoric of geopolitical "zingers" has grave consequences, as illustrated by the Russian invasion of Georgia.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Many in Georgia are angered over what they consider broken promises of support from the West in the confrontation with Russia. But it’s bold talk from US politicians—including hardliner John McCain—that encourages countries like Georgia to provoke Moscow, David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post, only to see lives lost when those verbal checks bounce.

Ignatius sees in McCain’s pro-Georgia bombast echoes of America’s Cold War promises to support peoples oppressed by communism if they rose up against the Soviet Union—though “after the brutal suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, responsible US leaders learned to be more cautious, and more honest about the limits of American power.” Rather, Ignatius contends, the US should remind countries caught in local, ethnic feuds, “Swallow your pride and compromise; the cavalry isn't coming to save you.” (More Russia stories.)

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