Bert A. Rockman , Head of Political Department of Purdue University of US and author of articles on the political structure of US government and book The Bush Presidency: First Appraisals specially for Trend .
Nothing is so coordinated in US political and governmental circles. Instead, what happened, quite characteristically of the current administration, was a set of responses or reflexes that by definition had not been fully thought through. What they had to do was to think through how the US would respond to similar "provocations" near its own borders. The answer is pretty much the same way the Russians did, especially in view of the NATO doctrine on Kosovo. The Russian response was not unpredictable. And it is not a matter of Russia; it is a matter of what great powers do when there are perceived threats to their spheres of influence. All great powers do what the Russians did. I'm not condoning that. It's just reality.
Obama is right that the US needs to engage with Russia, not threaten it.
McCain's views are stuck in the Cold War era and are not, as he is not, particularly reflective or strategic. No great power will accept what it perceives as encirclement.
The Bush administration's policies may have been inadvertently provocative but one thing that I am certain about was that there was no relation to McCain's campaign. I think, in fact, not long before the Russian invasion, higher diplomatic officials in the US government were trying to warn the Georgian government from being overly aggressive in South Ossetia.
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