Washington, Oct 1 : Republican presidential nominee John McCain reduced a complex problem of the situation in Georgia and the Caucasus to simple sloganeering when he stated, "We are all Georgians."
The immediate implication was that Georgia is the current equivalent of Cold War Berlin. But this is not only a misreading of history and a misunderstanding of where Russia is today in its historic cultural conflict between westernization and despotism, the Washington Times said.
It is also an example of irresponsible sloganeering from someone who wants to lead the United States.
McCain is earnestly trying to dissociate himself from the Bush Administration. But in his eagerness to reduce the complicated to the simple in dealing with Russia and the Caucasus, he is demonstrating a similar lack of judgment in foreign policy.
For the Arizona Republican to raise Georgia to the historic level of Berlin and to say with reference to Georgia that "we face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I'm not afraid of them" is what the late playwright Tennessee Williams would call mendacity.
What McCain did was to make a complicated issue into a simple moral rallying cry to his constituency, the paper said.
There is no doubt that Russia overreacted in Georgia. And there is also no doubt that the Russian invasion, regardless of how planned it might have been, was a reaction to a provocation from the Georgian government - a provocation that some might argue was given an implied green light from the Bush administration.
But Russia greatly overplayed its hand, and, in a globalized world where perception leads reality, Russia's actions awakened the remembered fears of past Soviet aggression.
Russia's exploit in Georgia - rooted in more than 200 years of Caucasus conflict and Stalinesque population and boundary shifts - was the action of a newly awakening power more interested in displaying might than trusting the judgment of the international system.
Russia has learned many things since the fall of the Berlin Wall.