As Barack Obama prepares to announce his running-mate (insisting, characteristically, on a “no-leaks” policy until the decision is revealed to supporters via text-message, probably tomorrow), one name has dropped out of contention: former Sen. Sam Nunn of GA. Indeed, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway yesterday, Nunn said the Obama campaign had not vetted his finances, which means he’s definitely not on the final short-list.
But in that same interview, Nunn shared some thoughts on the Georgia-Russia crisis that Obama and others should listen to carefully. In the bipartisan rush to identify with beleagured Georgia, support for expanding NATO to include Georgia and other eastern European nations has become reflexive. That’s a bad idea, Nunn suggests:
[C]learly the United States need to pause, look and listen before we rush into making Georgia and Ukraine part of NATO. If we’re going to do that, we have to understand that this is a military commitment. And we have to back it up militarily.
Right now, we’re not doing well in Afghanistan. Our NATO allies seem to be reluctant to put in more forces. NATO’s got a lot of credibility at stake in Afghanistan. And the defense spending by most of our European allies is way down.
And if you look at the map, you can see pretty quickly that defending Georgia will require enormous expenditures unless we’re going to go back to a Berlin sort of situation, where we threaten to use nuclear weapons in response to conventional progression by the Soviet Union….
A wounded bear is going to defend itself. I think Russia’s made a profound mistake, and they’ve got to correct it. [But] we have a real reason to avoid compounding the problem.
With John McCain running around the country demanding immediate NATO expansion in combination with promises to “defeat evil” wherever it arises, consequences be damned, it’s good to know that someone with Nunn’s credibility is willing to talk about those consequences. It was the failure to do so that led to the invasion of Iraq, which McCain continues to champion as a model for U.S. foreign policy in the future.