The past several days of intense combat in Georgia have underscored John McCain’s longrunning hardline stance against Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the New York Times reports. In an aspect of the candidate's track record that has received relatively little attention, McCain has called for Russia’s expulsion from the Group of 8, and urged President Bush to skip the group’s 2006 meeting in St. Petersburg.
Some policy experts criticize McCain’s staunch position as dangerous and regressive; others see it as pragmatic. “The reason he’s right is that Russia has now entered into an entirely different realm of international behavior which we haven’t seen in decades,” says a McCain policy adviser. “Russia is clearly trying to establish an old hegemony over its near neighbors.”