Obama: Russia, U.S. should not ‘charge into’ other countries

August 21, 2008

LYNCHBURG, Virginia – Democrat Barack Obama scolded Russia again on Wednesday for invading another country’s sovereign territory while adding a new twist: the United States, he said, should set a better example on that front, too.

The Illinois senator’s opposition to the Iraq war, which his comment clearly referenced, is well known. But this was the first time the Democratic presidential candidate has made a comparison between the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Russia’s recent military activity in Georgia.

“We’ve got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies,” Obama told a crowd of supporters in Virginia. “They can’t charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point.”

Foreign policy has become a dividing line in the race for the White House.

Obama favors a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq over 16 months, while John McCain, his Republican rival for president, opposes a timeline and says U.S. forces must stay to finish and win the war.

McCain, an Arizona senator, sought to highlight his foreign policy credentials during the Russia-Georgia crisis last week, giving a series of harsh statements directed at Moscow soon after the conflict began.

Obama, who was on vacation in Hawaii, followed suit with statements that became sharper over time.

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McCain stood up to Russian expansionism, while Obambi did just what the Russian’s expected. He hid behind empty words and rhetoric. McCain is 1st string, in real world politics.

Posted by gene | Report as abusive

The people of Assetia want to be a part of Russia. How is it that we in the US hear nothing of the genocide committed by the Georgians against the people of Assetia? There are even stories of Georgians placing bombs in hospitals where the injured were taken following the Georgian invasion of Assetia.

Posted by A. Doerfler | Report as abusive

There is no comparison to Russia’s invasion of Georgia and our occupation of Iraq. Putin is trying to overthrow a democratic government – the US expelled an oppressive dictator. When it comes to foreign policy Obama is an idiot.

Posted by Troy | Report as abusive

Moral equivalency. Everyone here who believes these comments were intelligent need to examine their own sense of morality, because you’re giving moral equivalency to Saddam and the Georgian president. That’s intelligent? That’s reasonable? That’s sane? My God, I am almost afraid for the future. No one here seems to have learned from history, specifically the period leading up to WWII. Shoot, people don’t learn from Obama’s clone, Jimmy Carter, under which the nation’s morale was at its lowest in decades.

If this is progressiveness, I want no part of it.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

A. Doerfler wrote”

“The people of Assetia want to be a part of Russia. How is it that we in the US hear nothing of the genocide committed by the Georgians against the people of Assetia? There are even stories of Georgians placing bombs in hospitals where the injured were taken following the Georgian invasion of Assetia.”

- Posted by A. Doerfler

To A. Doerfler:

Do you mind telling us the sources of your information? We in America listen to respectable and reliable news media (including foreign media sources). Some of us also have relatives, friends, in the region. We also heard what Amnesty International had to say about the conflict as well as Human Rights Watch, etc. Obviously your sources must be pure Russian propaganda.

Posted by Natasha | Report as abusive

To A. Doerfler:

If there was genocide occuring by the Georgians I am sure we in America would have heard about it from legitimate – reliable sources. If the Russians who happen to be execellent in spreading propaganda and outright lies believe that geonocide by the Georgians is taking place they should bring it up to the UN so they can invstigate their rediculous in my opinion allegations. Last time I checked around – Russia had not obtain a resolution confirming this at the UN… Please stop reading Russian propaganda blogs!!!!

Posted by Natasha | Report as abusive

By the way, if you want to see the sources of information I’d start with Reuters, then try other international news agencies.

And try picking ones that put the correct pictures with the story – unlike CNN that posted pictures of ruined Tskhinvali and claimed it was Gori!

If you don’t agree with what they say on Russia today then turn the sound down and just look at the pictures, someone was responsable for all that damage, actually someone in the US ultimately.

Posted by Gareth | Report as abusive

Barack Hussein Osama shows the same attitude as Jimmy Carter: He never met a dictator he didn’t like.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Obama’s take on the Georgia crisis was enough to convince me that his foreign policy would be akin to that of Neville Chamberlain in 1938 – and we all know how that panned out. History has proven time and time again that soft talk and appeasement doesn’t work in the face of genuine aggressors. Obama seems to have his heart in the right place, but he doesn’t seem to understand how the real world works. Obama is showing himself to be terribly naïve. His message of hope is inspiring, but in the end, his naive policies could very well bring the United States (and the rest of the western world) to its knees.

When Neville Chamberlain stepped off the plane after his meeting with Hitler, the British public hailed him as a visionary and a hero, chanting “peace in our time!” A year later, after Hitler had gobbled up two more countries, the world was plunged into the most devastating war in human history.

I believe the current world landscape is a dangerous one. The next US president is going to have a lot of responsibility thrust upon their shoulders, and the decisions they make could quite literally alter the course of human history. We all need to be very, very deliberate and thoughtful when we cast our votes in November.

Posted by Matthew Acheson | Report as abusive