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Sen. McCain Criticizes Obama over Georgia

20.05.2010
Republican Senator John McCain criticized the Obama administration saying that support for liberty and human rights is "mostly missing" from the U.S. foreign policy and as one of the examples, among others, the Senator brought situation in Georgia vis-à-vis Russia.

"Not only are Russian forces still occupying sovereign Georgian territory; they are digging in their military presence. But last week, the President resubmitted to Congress a civil-nuclear agreement with Russia, stating, and I quote, ‘the situation in Georgia is no longer an obstacle...’  And some wonder why the Georgians feel that Washington is selling them out to Moscow as the price of our ‘hitting the reset button’," Senator McCain, who visited Georgia this January, told a conference at the Nixon Center, according to his prepared remarks.

After the August, 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, the Bush administration froze nuclear treaty with Russia, citing that Russia's actions were "incompatible with peaceful relations with its sovereign and democratic neighbor, Georgia."

On May 10, in a message to the Congress requesting for the support to this treaty with Russia, President Obama said that he had reviewed the situation and concluded, that "the situation in Georgia need no longer be considered an obstacle to proceeding with the proposed Agreement."

"The sad thing is, it’s not just the Georgians. Ask the Poles, or the Czechs, or others in central Europe, and you’ll hear the same anxiety about American abandonment," Senator McCain said.

In the context of the Obama administration's stance on Syria and Lebanon, McCain said: "There is nothing wrong with engagement, but it’s a tactic, not a foreign policy, and we should never give the impression that engagement with our enemies comes at the expense of the sovereignty and independence of our friends."

On May 15 The Washington Post ran an op-ed under the headline "U.S. Abandoning Russia's Neighbors" by David J. Kramer, who is a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

"The administration seems to have moved toward a "Russia only" approach, neglecting and even abandoning other countries in the region," he wrote and suggested that "the most glaring example of this trend" was President Obama's message to the Congress.

"It would be one thing to resubmit the... treaty noting that the United States still has serious disagreements with Russia over Georgia. Instead, by stating so baldly that the situation in Georgia is no longer an obstacle to advancing Russian-American relations, the administration is essentially abandoning the Georgians and giving Russia a green light to continue to engage in provocative behavior along its borders," David J. Kramer wrote.

On May 18 the issue was further discussed in a piece published on the Huffington Post by Moscow-based TIME Magazine reporter, Simon Shuster, under the headline "Obama's Betrayal of Georgia Kind of Makes Sense". In the article the author, who interviewed President Saakashvili and some of his advisors more than a month ago, discusses the issue in the context of Georgia's internal developments, making focus on President Saakashvili's personality and looking into his alleged role in Imedi TV's notorious fake news report, suggesting that "Saakashvili showed himself to be impulsive, even erratic, and a dangerous partner for the United States."

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