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McCain and Putin

September 23, 2008 - Steve Murch
Two magazines currently on newsstands each have an interesting, if not important, article offering an intriguing look at where the world could be headed following the November elections — regardless of how the election turns out.

The Atlantic and Vanity Fair (which is an incredibly liberal mag on most issues) have articles on John McCain and Vladimir Putin, respectively.

The Atlantic (link to the right) story on McCain, written by Jeffrey Goldberg, looks at why McCain believes in the Iraq war, and why he believes the Vietnam War was winnable. It’s an even-hand look at how McCain views the role of the military. It neither promotes nor undermines McCain’s beliefs and it weaves this by telling of his time, as well as his father and grandfather times, in the military.

The Vanity Fair article on Putin, written by Masha Gessen with assistance from Ilya Kolmanovsky (sorry, this is one of the few stories at the VF Web that isn’t online), definitely has a Western and Russian dissident slant. However, it still shows how dangerous Putin can be.

On their own, they are worth the read. Together, and I read them on successive days, they pose more questions — hypothetical, but questions nonetheless.

Could the results of November’s election, whether either McCain or Barack Obama wins the election, have a direct result of a new Cold War? Putin — who is still of the old Soviet mindset even though the Soviet Union no longer exists — probably wouldn’t care if a 21st century Cold War developed. The West, however, would obviously prefer a more democratic Russia.

So would a new Cold War be more likely because of McCain’s strong military history or would it be less likely for the exact same reason? Or, would a Cold War be more imminent if Obama were president? Would Russia be more antagonistic and agressive thinking that Obama might not be as forceful militarily or less so because of the same reason?

Though it’s an over-simplification of a complex issue, they were still questions that arose for me while reading those two articles.


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