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.