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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ukraine in the Second U.S. Presidential Debate

Last night at Belmont University, Obama and McCain reiterated their positions.

As always, the subject of Ukraine emerged in the Russian context. Watch the video.



McCain specifically addresses Ukraine 3:52 into the video, advocating for Ukraine’s admission into NATO.

Obama does not say “the Ukraine” again (nor does he say "Ukraine") and stresses a pro-active foreign policy.

Video embedded from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25DDzrI5vSo

9 comments:

Serhiy said...

Hi Taras! Hope everything is going fine on your side...

By the way, today at the uni, we had a meeting Mike Gravel, senator from Alaska who participated in the Democratic primary. Actually he claims to be libertarian, even though it was very strange for me to see a "libertarian" whose views seem to be clearly very left (his views are much left than the views of many french socialists, I would dare to say). Anyway, it was quiet interesting, even though our students mainly asked the questions like: "is it true that Sarah Palin goes hunting every week-end?":)

Taras said...

Salut Serhiy!

Everything's fine. No major developments since last evening.

Words like liberal and libertarian mean many different things, especially on different sides of the Atlantic. You never really know what they mean until you start arguing.

I hope Sarah Palin won't have to use her gun to defend Alaska in case America elects an isolationist administration:)

Leopolis said...

Obama saying "the Ukraine" is the least of the problems.

At a conference last week on CEE relations, McCain's senior policy adviser Kori Schake framed future U.S.-East European relations primarily within the prism of Russia -- in particular Georgia.

http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_events/task,view/id,1797/

This is not a good sign for Poland, Czech, Romania, etc. who would continue to serve as a "means to an end" in a McCain presidency to stand up to Russia. The sad part is that CEE countries overwhelmingly support McCain not realizing that once again they will be pawns in the U.S.-Russia Great Game.

Taras said...

Thank you for commenting, Leopolis!

As I noted in my post on the first debate, I need a U.S. president who is neither too hard nor too soft on Russia.

McCain may be a bit of a hawk, but Obama seems too much of a dove. McCain criticized “President Putin of Germany” for delivering “Cold War-style speeches.” Meanwhile, Obama called Ukraine “the Ukraine” and called Poland and the Czech Republic “fledgling democracies.”

Anyway, it’s for you Americans to decide who will be your president.

I just don’t want “the Ukraine” to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

lauren said...

Hi again Taras!

Hope you don't mind my hopping over to this thread. I understand your political point about "the Ukraine". Thanks for explaining, and I did go and read your link - as well as a many other things about your country.

During that debate, when I heard McCain say something like, "watch Ukraine", and then, "You'll be learning about some countries you can't find on a map" (haha!), I knew it was time to start learning more about your area of the world. Undoubtedly this is related to oil and Russia. McCain truly does believe that the US is the greatest country on earth, and he's a military man and he's aligned himself with, and is being advised by, member's of the Bush team. And I think like Leopolis - the "means to an end" use of countries is common for them.

Have you read their foundation document - the neoconservatives whom McCain is aligning with?
Here's a snip: "The Cold War world was a bipolar
world; the 21st century world is – for the
moment, at least – decidedly unipolar, with
America as the world’s “sole superpower.”
America’s strategic goal used to be
containment of the Soviet Union; today the
task is to preserve an international security
environment conducive to American
interests and ideals. The military’s job
during the Cold War was to deter Soviet
expansionism. Today its task is to secure
and expand the “zones of democratic
peace;” to deter the rise of a new greatpower
competitor; defend key regions of
Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; and
to preserve American preeminence through
the coming transformation of war made possible by new technologies." (pg. 2-3, of 90; http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf)

Honestly, all of this scares me, while at the same time their positions sound ridiculous, like school boys playing king of the hill.

Taras, and/or Leopolis, could you explain why CEE countries support McCain?

Anonymous said...

Lauren again, I need to apologize for even asking if you'd read the document I referred to - stupid assumption and question. I need to learn how to talk to non-US people! Thanks for the opportunity and your response.

Taras said...

Thank you for the link, Laren!

Like many other people, I believe America will not be able to keep the world unipolar indefinitely.

America remains the biggest economic and military power, but its power relative to high-growth and populous countries like China, India, Brazil, and Russia will be declining. In many respects, we no longer live in a unipolar world.

I look forward to a new world order where smaller countries will protect themselves via collective security. In Ukraine’s case, it’s NATO.

CEE countries “support” McCain because they have diasporas in the U.S. and still remember Budapest '56 and Prague '68. They want a NATO that works.

Leopolis said...

Taras is correct. CEE countries tend to support conservatives/Republicans “support” McCain because of their active roles in the anti-communist movement. Today, it is mainly because of the perception of insecurity emanating from Russia.
There are social reasons, too. Poland, for example, is overwhelmingly Catholic and ethnically homogeneous.

I do not think that this applies to Ukraine, though.

Serhiy -- Mike Gravel is a non-entity in U.S. politics. He gets more coverage on Russia Today than he does in the U.S. media. American left-libertarianism does exist, but the right-libertarians have garnered more attention and support in the mainstream.

Taras said...

True, Poland is a Catholic country and Ukraine is largely an Orthodox country. Samuel Huntington drew this line in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

That doesn’t mean the Russian threat does not exist, right?

Luckily, Poland joined NATO, which means more security. At least, as long as they have an independent buffer state like Ukraine.

Things will change if the Kremlin decides to have a little fun in Ukraine. The West will circle the wagons, and Ukrainian folks like me will be drafted.

But why should we die just because Washington stripped us of our nuclear deterrent and then washed its hands off us, militarily speaking?