August 13th, 2008
02:41 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain: Georgia conflict won't 're-ignite the Cold War'

McCain said the United States should stand 'courageously' with Georgia.

McCain said the United States should stand 'courageously' with Georgia.

BIRMINGHAM, Michigan (CNN) - John McCain came out in support of President Bush’s decision Wednesday to dispatch U.S. aircraft with humanitarian aid to Georgia and to send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice there to demonstrate America’s “unwavering support” for the country.

And despite some recent tough talk towards Russia that has drawn criticism from Barack Obama's campaign, McCain also said he did not think the Russia-Georgia conflict would “re-ignite the Cold War."

"I don't think it means we're going to reignite the Cold War, and I don't think that we're going to have kind of situation," he said at a fundraiser in Michigan, “but I do believe that we need to stand as courageously as we can on behalf of this little country.”

Bush said in a Rose Garden statement that Russia must halt all military operations in Georgia and withdraw troops from the country, while allowing international aid into the region.

McCain said he “strongly” supports Bush’s position.

During the fundraiser, McCain continued his expressions of solidarity with Georgia, at one point citing reports of possible human rights violations by the Russian military.

“I hope they are not true,” McCain said. I'm afraid that some of them are, but we'll find out in the upcoming hours and days."

The presumptive GOP nominee repeated his recent assertion that Moscow’s aggression indicates the country wants to create a modern-day version of the Russian empire.

“I also believe that we have to understand, in the larger context of what this is all about, and it's all got to do with the centuries old ambitions of the Russians to establish the Russian empire,” he said.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Gary Chandler in Canada

    If you support Tibet, why not S Ossetia? (the 30% Georgian did not vote)
    --– >>> from Wikipedia... –____-_
    On September 11, 2006, the South Ossetian Information and Press Committee announced that the republic will hold an independence referendum[7] (the first referendum had not been recognized by the international community as valid in 1992[35]) on November 12, 2006. The voters would decide on whether or not South Ossetia "should preserve its present de facto status of an independent state". Georgia denounced the move as a "political absurdity". However, On September 13, 2006, the Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Terry Davis commented on the problem, stating that it would be unlikely that anyone would accept the results of this referendum and instead urged South Ossetian government to engage in the negotiations with Georgia.[36] On September 13, 2006 European Union Special Representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, while visiting Moscow, said: "results of the South Ossetian independence referendum will have no meaning for the European Union".[37] Peter Semneby also added that this referendum will not contribute to the peaceful conflict resolution process in South Ossetia.

    South Ossetians nearly unanimously approved a referendum on November 12, 2006 opting for independence from Georgia. The referendum was hugely popular, winning between 98 and 99 percent of the ballots, flag waving and celebration marked were seen across South Ossetia, but elsewhere observers were less enthusiastic. International critics claimed that the move could worsen regional tensions, and the Tblisi government thoroughly discounted the results.

    August 13, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. David Peter

    McCain wants war so badly because he lost in Vietnam. He is too old and lacks restraint. McCain has no morals and he is an elitist.

    August 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. KC

    Sorry but Obama was right on this one, he was pushing for the entire Euorpen nation get involved to presure Russia. Why should Amercia "solve" this on our own! The Russians know we are tied up in Iraq and Afg. get agrip people

    August 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Vig

    McCain is more trustworthy when it comes to handling these types of foriegn conflicts because he has more experience and is more comfortable taking on the task. Obama reads from prepared statements, with long pauses that are scripted probably by his white male staff and obviously is repeating what he has heard others say. Obama has absolutely no leadership ability.

    August 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. jake, San Francisco, CA

    This guy is confused: We are all Georgians but we are all not Americans. In Particular the Obamas are not Americans because they have muslim roots and went to elite schools!

    Someone please find McBomber his pills so he can think straight!

    August 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Manny, New York, NY

    Both McCain and Bush are responsible for this crisis. Both were encouraging the Georgian president to be aggressive. Bush was selling weapons worth billions of dollars in the last few years. Why does a small country like Georgia needs to get so much offensive weapons? Georgia has the 4th largest military budget per capita in the world!!! And of course all the American instructors who taught Georgian army how to attack South Ossetia. However, the largest responsibility is with Georgian President who, as many people who had a chance to deal with him know, is very impulsive and is known to take big risks for the sake of his career, even if it will bring disastrous results on his people.

    Just like it happened with Saddam, Taliban and Osama… the U.S. grew a monster in Georgia and then lost control of it. Georgia started the ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia – a small country of 70K people – by launching a heavy artillery offensive and killing over 2000 civilians. Saddam was hanged for killing 400 people in Kurdkystan. Why is Sakashvilli different??? Most of the 2000 civilians killed are Russian citizens – why then it should be a surprise that Russia responded? The question is if Russia overacted. I don’t know. Did we overreact when we (Nato) attacked Serbia over the conflict in Kosovo, bombed civilian infrastructures all over the country, including Belgrade? We bombed the bridges and main TV tower in Belgrade, killing journalists. All this was done supposedly to protect Albanians from Serbia, even though Kosovo was and is part of Serbia. All this was done without UN mandate.

    August 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Ian

    We have military bases in over 130 countries. So what's McCain's definition of an empire?

    August 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Mike

    Too bad Barack Obama isn't still in the Illinois State senate where he can make a politically convenient statement like he did with Iraq

    August 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. jake, San Francisco, CA

    Wait a minute, I hope McBush is not confusing the American State of Georgia with the Republic of Georgia...Oh my good god!!!!!!!1

    Are we really considering electing this guy? God help America please, what's happening to our once beloved smart country?

    August 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Mike from CA.

    I just can't wait to hear how cable news pundits, including CNN's, will definitely find only positive things to say about McCain's obvious pandering.

    August 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Jim in Orlando

    If Obama were President he would politely ask the Russians to please get out of Georgia, and of course they would comply .... LOL ... Hahahahahahahahahah !

    August 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Mike

    And another thing, the whole connection of McCain to a lobbyist for Georgia is so stupid. While lobbyists as a whole get a bad rap there are plenty of lobbyists that are beneficial, and I would say one that is representing a growing country with a democratically elected government is not really in the same vein as someone representing a tobacco company. Hell, AARP is a lobbyist group, does that make them evil all of the sudden?

    August 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. D R

    And just what can saber rattling do to Russia? McCain is a little out of touch. I'm sure this guy paid dearly in is years of captivity, but how does that give you foreign policy experience? I think this guy behind the switch at three o'clock in the morning, should scare the living crap out of America, and the world! And for what I've read it sounds like if Obama doesn't win we can thank the impeached Billary's for their contribution, or lack of. And the millions of people that will not vote for a black man, or even a half black man! They would rather head down the same road we have seen with Bush!

    August 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. Concerned in Raleigh

    I believe that Senator McCain is still a Prisioner of War. His mind seems to be fixated on war. He has experience from which he seems to have learned little if anything. He has demonstrated that he lacks knowledge or has forgotten what he thought he knew. This is not a good sign.

    August 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. Michael

    McBush is totaly ineffective when it comes to foriegn affairs. He thinks Russia is the Soviet Union. Thinks that Czechoslavakia is still one nation. Believes that Pakistan and Iraq share a common Border. Does not now the difference between an Arab and a Persian or a Sunni and a Shia. Can not deal with Putin because he has publicly insulted him as a leader. Can not participate in Israel and Palestine peace talks because he has proclaimed himself to be the worst enemy of their elected Palestinian Government. McBush is not even President and he has set himself up to be a failure on the world stage. All he can offer is continued war and a failing economy.

    August 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. bruja

    If McCain (or Bush) does not shut up, you WILL provoque another Cold war....
    Ron Democrat: Do you really think you have no terrorist attacks because of Bush? Or Mc Cain? Keep dreaming.......................

    August 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Jeremy Sun

    Ron, how do you know Arabs attacked the towers? Where is the "innocent till proven guilty" rule, hmm?????????

    August 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Don

    Some of these Obamacans are stupid. As ur candidate what his stand his and stop criticizing someone who has taken one.

    August 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Marie Ontario

    Guess what an adviser has just told McCain to cool his war rhetoric as it's giving him a scary image.

    Too late, too bad if there's oil in them thar hills John McCain and George Bush will fight to get at it regardless of the toll it takes on your economy and your military.

    If you hear a loud noise and feel a rumbling sensation that's not the world applauding Bush & McCain's rhetoric it's Russia rolling on the ground laughing.

    August 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. w.l. jones

    We never had a cold war between east and west that were media hipe which serve it pupose very well in it days. Europe is America "America is Europe" remember that " they are closer to the situation than we are and we have an election coming up in a few month ; dont rock the boat.

    August 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. eam

    what has obama done oh wait he's in hawaii shouldn't a real leader come back when there is a crisis? not obama he'd rather catch some rays. enjoy the sun obama while real leaders handle this conflict.

    August 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. linda from South Dakota

    i do not support th idea of goin over there,, we have enough tragity on our plate here, and in my opinion,, bush needs to stop diggin us in deeper,, ,,, how can we even think of sendin troops over when we are so stretched already??? americans do not need this,,,,

    August 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Gene

    Yeah McCain... you can actually thank Condi Rice for the fact that this hasn't exploded into another cold war. She had to go in and smooth things out after your "tough talk".

    August 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. linda from South Dakota

    trsut me,, with mccain supporting bush on this desicion? a cold war it will start and americans can not afford this,,,,, im against this,,, leave it alone,,,

    August 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyMan OffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    Hey, Grampy! Did you tell them the one about your campaign aide's lobbyist ties to Georgia prior to you lifting your initial plagiarized response directly off Wikipedia?

    August 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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