McBush or McCheney?

The campaign mantra is four more years - but of who?

McBush or McCheney?

With a candidate that still thinks Czechoslovakia exists (Newsdesk is still awaiting McCain's policy statements on Illyria, Prussia, and the Despotate of Morea) and campaign staff that can't tell the difference between Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. and Walter Reed Middle School in California, there's an image building up of John McCain as John McBush.

How about McCheney? After all, both the GOP presidential candidate and the current vice-president share a notoriously short temper. That's been highlighted by the re-appearance of an old Washington Post story about the Republican vice-presidential nominee reliving his navy days by cussing like a sailor at Texas' Sen. John Cornyn. Reports of his volcanic temper have been rife for years (the ultra-conservative Newsmax quoted his fellow Republican Sen. Bob Smith discussing his "irrational behavior" two years ago.) Hmm. Anyone remember Cheney's little run-in with Sen. Patrick Leahy?

This all comes as the current vice-president gets increasingly bellicose about Georgia and Ukraine becoming part of NATO, and using this as a warning against Russia. Yes, Georgia, subject of McCain's inflammatory "Today, we are all Georgians" speech, and potentially a future lesson on the perils of campaign rhetoric as shadow foreign policy.

NATO is what in diplomatic circles is known as as mutual defense pact, which means it steps in to prevent wars between member states, and protects members from non-member aggression. The Bush administration (as well as both McCain and Obama) has pushed for NATO to draw up a Membership Action Plan for Georgia to fast-track it joining, but that was rejected by the other member states: Partly because of concerns it would further antagonize Russia, and partly because Georgia is midway through what looks pretty much like a civil war, and NATO doesn't like having to clear up other people's internal messes.

Cheney's hobnail boots approach to diplomacy just re-enforces the long-standing suspicion in Europe that it's very easy for the US to talk big about standing up to Russia, since it doesn't actually share any borders with it. What's even more amazing is that this has happened while Condoleezza Rice, a supposed Russian expert (since she's shown no grasp of Middle Eastern and Arabic affairs, that must be her sole qualification), has been one of this administration's key foreign policy thinkers.

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