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Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Company She Keeps

La Russophobe is in good company. Reader Jeremy Putley points us to a recent report from Izvestia which appeared in the Johnson's Russia List which declares that John McCain, past and future U.S. presidential candidate and one of the most respected and influential people on the face of the planet, is a card-carrying "russophobe." Isn't it interesting how Russians view McCain as "peremptory in the American style"? Russians really think that Ukrainians, Georgians and Baltic people see Russians differently, not at all peremptory, just respectful and reasonable. In other words, they have their heads about a million miles deep in the Neo-Soviet sand. Here is the item:

Izvestia August 30, 2006
Report by Aleksandr Iashvili
"Senator McCain Promises To Protect
Georgia From Putin"

-- US Senator John McCain, who is sometimes referred to a "the United States' chief Russophobe," has arrived in Georgia on a three-day visit. Tbilisi's sharpest wits immediately dubbed this trip an "inspection tour" -- hinting at the fact that in Washington it is McCain who is considered the "overseer" of Mikheil Saakashvili and his team of "rose revolutionaries." The inspection is proceeding productively. Together with several fellow-senators, McCain has even ventured into "enemy territory" -- Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, which is not under the Tbilisi authorities' jurisdiction. The American visitors met with South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoiti and engaged him in "an intensive exchange of opinions."That exchange left McCain deeply disappointed. He was particularly displeased by Kokoiti's statement that "the people of South Ossetia see their future within the Russian Federation." At a press conference held in Tbilisi immediately upon the Americans' return from Tskhinvali the senator complained that he had received from his Ossetian conversation partner "no specific answers to the question why the peace plan for the conflict's settlement was not being implemented." The American guest reassured his audience: He said that the United States "firmly supports Georgia's territorial integrity. Your country is a friend of America, and is worthy to become a NATO member," the senator proclaimed. But McCain would not have been his normal self if he had failed to recall the favorite target of his speeches -- Vladimir Putin. He told the Tbilisi journalists that he had been shocked at the sight of a billboard on the road to Tskhinvali that said "Putin is our president." "Putin will never be president on Georgian territory," the senator vowed. While so saying, he had been emotional in the Caucasian style and peremptory in the American style. On hearing such assurances, Mikheil Saakashvili was unable to conceal his delight. He is, after all, convinced (and has repeatedly said so in his speeches) that it is McCain who will be the next US president. On this occasion too, speaking in Mtskheta, the ancient Georgian capital, Saakashvili again referred to the senator as George Bush's possible successor and, for some reason, he dubbed his own country "a smithy where American presidents are forged"

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