Putin Says Bush Pushed Georgia To Attack for McCain
Putin obliquely accused Bush of encouraging or helping Georgia attack South Ossetia in order to help John McCain get elected, according to a CNN interview reported in the NYT. I was already worried in an earlier blog that McCain had helped foment the war in Georgia.
Putin seemed to imply that an American military or CIA officer was directly involved. I doubt this. If a CIA officer was involved, it was probably some rogue agent like those who worked in the Watergate break-in, not one working in a CIA operation. I think there is no love lost between the CIA and Bush. Bush has made the CIA’s failures the scapegoat for his failure on 9/11, and by reorganizing the intelligence community has weakened the CIA significantly. It’s unlikely that the career leadership of the CIA would undertake an operation mainly to support McCain’s candidacy. It’s also unlikely that SecDef Gates would risk starting a war for partisan politics, although I’m not so sure about some of the wild men in the special forces command; I just don’t know enough about them.
Although I’m dubious that the US government would have encouraged Georgia to start a war to help McCain, I think the USG probably encouraged Georgia to tweak Russia’s nose for its own foreign policy reasons, however stupid they may be. And I think that McCain used is own foreign policy contacts to encourage Georgia to be aggressive, particularly his chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Schuenemann, who is a lobbyist for Georgia. He basically gets paid to foment a war that advances McCain’s campaign. McCain’s connections are obvious; he and Saakashvili claim to talk several times a day, with Schuenemann’s lobbying firm picking up a little commission every time they do. Plus, McCain has sent his own envoys to buck up Georgia’s aggressiveness — Sen. Graham, Sen. Lieberman, and his wife, Cindy McCain. No doubt they all said something like, “Don’t give up,” but the questions is how far they went in promising military aid either now or after “President McCain” is elected.