NATO And Georgia: Not A Campaign Issue But A Real Issue
Kevin Drum notes that while Sarah Palin echoes the irresponsible McCain position on the expansion of NATO to Georgia, the Democrats have not a leg to stand on on the issue:
John McCain's official position on NATO expansion is that we should include Georgia and Ukraine posthaste. This means that if either of those countries gets into a border skirmish — or worse — with Russia, the United States will be obligated to go to war on their behalf.
However, unless I'm mistaken, this is also Barack Obama's official position. So I wouldn't expect a whole lot of pushback on this from his camp. Which is too bad, since the American public really ought to think long and seriously about whether we should be reponsible for defending distant countries that have long histories of ethnic strife and unstable borders.
The only "Serious Person" who has made sense on this issue is Sam Nunn:
[C]learly the United States need to pause, look and listen before we rush into making Georgia and Ukraine part of NATO. If we’re going to do that, we have to understand that this is a military commitment. And we have to back it up militarily. Right now, we’re not doing well in Afghanistan. Our NATO allies seem to be reluctant to put in more forces. NATO’s got a lot of credibility at stake in Afghanistan. And the defense spending by most of our European allies is way down.
And if you look at the map, you can see pretty quickly that defending Georgia will require enormous expenditures unless we’re going to go back to a Berlin sort of situation, where we threaten to use nuclear weapons in response to conventional progression by the Soviet Union... A wounded bear is going to defend itself. I think Russia’s made a profound mistake, and they’ve got to correct it. [But] we have a real reason to avoid compounding the problem.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
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