From Russia with scorn

McCain is the candidate Russians love to hate.

As we are told is the case everywhere, Russians are following the US primary races closely. Or, at least the Kremlin-controlled press is. The “what does this mean for Russia?” discussion is all McCain, all the time. From the outset of the campaigns, Russia has hardly figured prominently. McCain is the only candidate with a consistent record of making an issue of Russia (and Biden the most so of the Democrats), and has been in fine form, calling it a rogue state and calling for regime change. The others have all touched upon Russia when the circumstances call for it.

Now that McCain is the GOP heir apparent, the press is going bonkers, heaping obloquy upon scorn upon contempt on him. And, demonstrating their keen grasp of the American political press, they frequently cite the views of influential columnists Pat Buchanan and Justin Raimondo, to demonstrate that McCain is not as popular as election results might suggest. Normally, I’d be happy to ignore every word that either pundit puts to paper, but I’m unable to, as both are preoccupied with Georgia. In their monthly-or-so philippics against McCain (or against US engagement anywhere, for any purpose), they often cite his support for Georgia. They find especially risible his expressed support for Georgia’s sovereignty in South Ossetia, which serves as their real-life Freedonia or Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

Needless to say, most Georgians love McCain. I try to explain that US Russia policy tends to be bipartisan and driven by the permanent foreign-policy establishment, and that the same is true for Georgia. Hard to get across when the main road to the airport is George W. Bush Avenue.