Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dangerous Candidate

It looks like the U.S. posturing in the Georgia debacle may ultimately be about -- surprise, surprise -- oil:

American policy makers hoped that diverting oil around Russia would keep the country from reasserting control over Central Asia and its enormous oil and gas wealth and would provide a safer alternative to Moscow’s control over export routes that it had inherited from Soviet days. The tug-of-war with Moscow was the latest version of the Great Game, the 19th-century contest for dominance in the region...

...Now energy experts say that the hostilities between Russia and Georgia could threaten American plans to gain access to more of Central Asia’s energy resources at a time when booming demand in Asia and tight supplies helped push the price of oil to record highs.

So is it any surprise that presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain is in bed with Georgia, who's President Mikheil Saakashvili started the fighting in the first place with at least a silent nod from the U.S. -- if not more -- and is somehow yet to pay the price in the U.S. media? The name is Randy Schuenemann:

Randy Scheunemann earned about $70,000 serving as Sen. John McCain's top foreign policy adviser between the January 2007 and May 15, 2008.

During the same period, the government of Georgia paid his firm $290,000 in lobbying fees...

...On April 17, McCain got on the phone with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili about Russian efforts to gain leverage over two of Georgia's troubled provinces. That same day, McCain issued a public statement condemning Russia and expressing strong support for the Georgian position.

And also on that same day, Georgia signed a new, $200,000 lobbying contract with Scheunemann's firm, Orion Strategies, according to the Post.

Think there might be a conflict of interests? And with McCain always itching to start another Cold War with Russia (nostalgic for his youth?), he's escalating by sending campaign surrogates -- John thinks he can win the election on the basis of a new neocon revival against Russia.

But of all the quotes today about the conflict, this one takes the cake:

Make an embroidered pillow out of it: "In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations." Like the last five years in Iraq never happened.

Willful omission or yet another "senior moment?"

Both answers bode ill.

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