Thursday, August 21, 2008

Manifest Destiny for Caucasians

A recent election map from has Obama and McCain in a relatively tight race with multiple states displaying 'swing' status. There are multiple opportunities for the map to change in the coming 2.5 months, from Vice Presidential selections, to blunders, but I want to focus on one issue that seems to be deteriorating - the power struggle with Russia.

MSN is reporting that Russia is canceling all military cooperation with NATO, and Yahoo! News reported that the White House is 'demanding' that Russian forces leave Georgia 'now'. I only point this out to stress the point that while this current issue may be solved diplomatically in the coming months, it may not, and regardless of the outcome with Georgia, Russia is emphatically declaring that it intends to be a thorn in the foreign policy side of the next U.S. President.

Two points:
1. Russian motives?
2. Thoughts of U.S. citizens?

1. One can only speculate as to what the motives of Russia could be. I have probably watched too many Tom Clancy movies, but I can't shake the feeling that this brusque type of diplomacy is meant to destabilize the race for the U.S. presidency. It may be nothing more than an attempt at Russian manifest destiny, but if it is, I feel it could have been done more gracefully.

2. How will this affect the average U.S. citizen. I think the average citizen will probably place foreign policy higher up the list of issues in terms of importance. From media reporting on the two candidates, they can (fairly or not) be pared down to McCain = no nonsense, tough talking, Obama = all options, diplomatic. The question is, does Russia have a stake in one candidate winning over the other? Do they believe by starting (and possibly stringing out) the conflict with Georgia so close to an election cycle, that they might hold an advantage in geopolitical negotiations throughout the Caucasus?