McCain says U.S. must reevaluate Russian relations

August 13, 2008 5:40:41 PM PDT
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Wednesday that Russia's invasion of Georgia calls for a complete reexamination of U.S. relations with the Moscow government. Speaking to reporters in Michigan, McCain said he was pleased that the United States has canceled a planned joint military operation with Russia. But he added, "we will now need to review the full range of our relations" with that country.

McCain said there should be heightened security arrangements for Ukraine, the Baltic states and Poland. But he offered no specifics, and ruled out military action against Russia or a return to the cold war.

Like Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic nations were republics in the Soviet Union, which Russia dominated. Poland was among the eastern European nations essentially under Soviet control but not part of the U.S.S.R.

At every stop during this week's campaigning in Pennsylvania and Michigan, McCain has sharply criticized Russia's attacks on Georgia, which is trying to keep the pro-Moscow province of South Ossetia from breaking away.

McCain said he supported President Bush's call for Russia to withdraw from Georgia and for his canceling the planned joint military maneuvers. Without directly criticizing the president, however, McCain made it clear he has long seen Russian leader Vladimir Putin as far more dangerous than has Bush, who once said he looked into Putin's soul and saw someone he could trust.

McCain said his regard of Putin, the former Russian president and now powerful prime minister, "has been very clear for a long time. I've been verif Lieberman was trying to politicize the conflict, McCain on Wednesday said now is not the time "for partisan sniping."

McCain also was flanked by his wife, Cindy, whose right arm was in a sling, her hand heavily bandaged. Earlier in the day "a very enthusiastic supporter" had shaken her hand, Cindy McCain told reporters, and caused what she described as a minor sprain.

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