Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain vs. Obama on Ukraine

I think both McCain and Obama did pretty well in today's first presidential debate, but not when it comes to Ukrainian issues.

McCain had an entire paragraph on Ukraine in his speech:

"It's not accidental that the presidents of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine flew to Georgia, flew to Tbilisi, where I have spent significant amount of time with a great young president, Misha Saakashvili. And they showed solidarity with them, but, also, they are very concerned about the Russian threats to regain their status of the old Russian empire. Now, I think the Russians ought to understand that we will support -- we, the United States -- will support the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in the natural process, inclusion into NATO. We also ought to make it very clear that the Russians are in violation of their cease-fire agreement. ... It was very clear, the Russian intentions towards Georgia. They were just waiting to seize the opportunity. So, this is a very difficult situation. We want to work with the Russians. But we also have every right to expect the Russians to behave in a fashion and keeping with a country who respects international boundaries and the norms of international behavior.

And watch Ukraine. This whole thing has got a lot to do with Ukraine, Crimea, the base of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol. And the breakdown of the political process in Ukraine between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko is a very serious problem. So watch Ukraine, and let's make sure that we -- that the Ukrainians understand that we are their friend and ally."

And Obama is going to irritate a lot of Ukrainians because he called Ukraine "the Ukraine" the only time he mentioned Ukraine:

"And we also have to affirm all the fledgling democracies in that region, you know, the Estonians, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, the Poles, the Czechs, that we are, in fact, going to be supportive and in solidarity with them in their efforts. They are members of NATO. And to countries like Georgia and the Ukraine ... "

Full transcript of today's debate:

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