McCain Takes Hard Line on Putin's Russia

Unlike opponents, candidate wants to boot Moscow from G8
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2008 9:35 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., smiles as he is introduced at a town hall meeting Friday, May 2, 2008 in Denver, Colo.    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – John McCain says he favors expelling Russia from the G8 and forming a "league of democracies" to confront Moscow about rights abuses. The Republican candidate has fallen in with hard-line advisers, spurning pragmatists who favor dialogue and taking a tougher approach than his Democratic rivals. As Dmitry Medvedev prepares to become president tomorrow, Bloomberg looks at what Russia can expect from a new American administration.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, like President Bush, insist that booting Russia from the G8 would hinder, not help, attempts at fostering Russian democracy. But McCain has taken a much tougher line, insisting that only aggressive moves will make an impact. Mocking Bush's claim to have looked Vladimir Putin in the eyes and seen his "soul," McCain said that he looked at the outgoing Russian president "and saw three letters: KGB."