Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been one of President Obama’s most vocal critics for his handling of the crisis in Ukraine, particularly after Russia’s invasion of Crimea this past weekend. But back in 2008, when Russia went to war with neighboring Georgia and there was a Republican in the White House, McCain criticized “partisan sniping” surrounding the issue and called on the country to be united.
“The fact is, that this is a blatant act on the part of Vladimir Putin and one that must be unacceptable to the world community. It cannot stand,” McCain said this week referring to Russia’s military incursion into Crimea. “Why do we care?” McCain asked, “Because this is ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”
Indeed, the Arizona Republican’s attacks on Obama’s foreign policy in recent days has been relentless. “It’s time we woke up about Vladimir Putin. It’s time this administration got real,” McCain said on the Senate floor this week.
“This president does not understand Vladimir Putin. He does not understand his ambitions,” McCain said. “This president has never understood it. This president is the one who ridiculed Mitt Romney when Mitt Romney said the great enemy was Russia and its geopolitical threats.”
In August 2008, after Russian forces invaded the Georgian region of South Ossetia, McCain — who was battling Obama for the White House at the time — was a fierce advocate for the Georgian cause its then-President Mikheil Saakashvili. “We are all Georgians,” McCain famously said in support (in today’s case, “we are all Ukrainians” as well).
But back in 2008, McCain wasn’t pleased with those making the Russo-Georgian war a partisan issue. “This is no time for that,” the GOP presidential nominee said at the time, adding that Americans should be united against Russia. “The time now is for America to — the United States of America to act united on behalf of the people of the country of Georgia, and not do a lot of partisan sniping.”
“This is about hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people whose lives are even being taken, or they’re rendered homeless, wounded,” McCain said, “Let’s devote all of America and our allies’ energy to helping resolve a situation which is froth with human tragedy.” (HT: Tommy Vietor)