Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama, McCain, and Ukraine

This morning I woke up very early: to watch a second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain at 4 AM by Kiev time. Presidential candidates started with economic crisis and domestic politics. In this boring discussion Obama looked more self-confident and sounded more clear and knowing-how. That’s good for his rating, but it was not a point of my almost sleepless night. I was waiting for foreign block of a discussion. It was worth of waiting.

Usually Ukraine never becomes a significant topic of the debates of American presidential race. Today (yesterday – for USA) this rule was broken. Accompanied by Georgia, Ukraine became a part of the discussion of Obama and McCain. And I can say that in the knowledge of the topic McCain is much more stronger than his opponent. Knowing better, doing better?

Giving an answer to the question concerning a possibility of starting another Cold War (obviously with Russia), McCain said the following:
“I think that we're not going to have another Cold War with Russia. But Russia's behavior is certainly outside the norms of behavior that we would expect for nations which are very wealthy, as Russia has become, because of their petro dollars. Now, long ago, I warned about Vladimir Putin. I said: I looked into his eyes and saw three letters - K G B... He has exhibited most aggressive behavior, obviously, in Georgia. I said before, watch Ukraine. Ukraine, right now, is in the sights of Vladimir Putin, those that want to reassemble the old Soviet Union.
We've got to show moral support for Georgia. We've got to show moral support for Ukraine. We've got to advocate for their membership in NATO. We have to make the Russians understand that there are penalties for these this kind of behavior, this kind of naked aggression into Georgia, a tiny country and a tiny democracy".

Barack Obama showed much less knowledge about post-soviet region. He declared that Russia should be one of the central issues of the US presidency. But as I could notice Mr. Obama have no real interest in post-soviet developments. Talking about post-soviet countries and satellites, which should become a priority for American help to develop the economies, he mentioned only three states – actually members of the European Union:
“I agree with Sen. McCain on many of the steps that have to be taken. But we can't just provide moral support. We've got to provide moral support to the Poles and Estonia and Latvia and all of the nations that were former Soviet satellites. We've also got to provide them with financial and concrete assistance to help rebuild their economies. Georgia in particular is now on the brink of enormous economic challenges. And some say that that's what Putin intended in the first place”.

In the same style Barack Obama gave an explanation of the situation in Georgia:
“Back in April, I put out a statement saying that the situation in Georgia was unsustainable because you had Russian peacekeepers in these territories that were under dispute. And you knew that if the Russians themselves were trying to obtain some of these territories or push back against Georgia, that that was not a stable situation. So part of the job of the next commander-in-chief, in keeping all of you safe, is making sure that we can see some of the 21st Century challenges and anticipate them before they happen”.

But the very last point of Mr. Obama have hit me directly in the heart. He proposed American citizens to fight Russia by… reducing the energy consumption:
“And one last point I want to make about Russia. Energy is going to be key in dealing with Russia. If we can reduce our energy consumption, that reduces the amount of petro dollars that they have to make mischief around the world. That will strengthen us and weaken them when it comes to issues like Georgia”.

The follow-by comment of McCain sounded much more promising as for Ukraine:
“Obviously energy is going to be a big, big factor. And Georgia and Ukraine are both major gateways of energy into Europe. And that's one of the reasons why it's in our interest. But the Russians, I think we can deal with them but they've got to understand that they're facing a very firm and determined United States of America that will defend our interests and that of other countries in the world”.

All I can say is that I hope that if Barack Obama become the President of United States, he will manage to find professional foreign politics counsellors to work with him in the White House.

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