Replace Russia with India in the G8? Is this a statement made by an internet blogger trying to be silly? I'm afraid not. The statement in question is actually one of the several ludicrous foreign policy wishes of presidential candidate John McCain.



India should replace Russia in G8: McCain

WASHINGTON: India and Brazil should replace Russia in the Group of Eight (G8) forum, US Republican presidential candidate John McCain has said in a major foreign policy address that defends his hardline views on the ongoing war on terror while forsaking the Bush administration's unilateralism. The 3800-word speech, billed as McCain's most comprehensive foreign policy statement, has upbeat references to India, citations that might please New Delhi considering another Republican administration is a distinct possibility given the bloodletting on the Democratic side. Another Congress-led government in India may also have to carry the nuclear deal forward with a McCain administration if it is not consummated during the current dispensations.

Outside this narrow perspective too, McCain's address at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council contained much that would resonate well with New Delhi, including promises of US alliances with democracies, an ideal that McCain himself has help dilute with support to dubious military regimes like the one in Pakistan. ''We cannot build an enduring peace, based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to. We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact - a league of democracies - that can harness the vast influence of the more than one hundred democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests,'' McCain said, naming India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey and Israel, among democratic countries that should wield greater influence on events.

But it was his stab at India's old ally Russia, a country with which the Bush administration forged a close partnership in the beginning, that surprised analysts. Warning against the dangers posed by a ''revanchist'' Russia, McCain said the US should ensure that the G8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia, he said. The Group of Eight members include besides the US and Russia, Japan, Germany, UK, Canada, France and Italy. McCain's gripe against Russia appeared more political than economic, since some of the other countries have even smaller economies than that of a resurgent Russia. ''Rather than tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of Nato, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization's doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom,'' McCain said.

McCain did not address the rise of China in the geo-political context, nor mention the recent troubles in Tibet. But he acknowledged China and India as ''economic powerhouses'' while rejecting any idea of US isolationism or protectionism, saying Americans should lead by example and participate in globalization. But it was McCains stand on Iraq, a war which he has supported unequivocally, that was much awaited. And he showed no change of heart or policy on that big ticket, conflating the war on terror to the widely-condemned US invasion of Iraq. ''We have enemies for whom no attack is too cruel, and no innocent life safe, and who would, if they could, strike us with the world's most terrible weapons. "There are states that support them, and which might help them acquire those weapons because they share with terrorists the same animating hatred for the West, and will not be placated by fresh appeals to the better angels of their nature. "This is the central threat of our time, and we must understand the implications of our decisions on all manner of regional and global challenges could have for our success in defeating it,'' McCain said, continuing to blur the line between Iraq and the more toxic regimes that drew the US into the so-called war on terror.


McCain Accuses Russia of Blackmail

U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain suggested revamping the Group of Eight, a trans-Atlantic group that deals with economic policy, to exclude Russia, which he accused of "nuclear blackmail." McCain, almost certain to be the Republican candidate in November's election to replace President George W. Bush, gave a broad outline of his foreign policy views Wednesday in a speech in California. "We should start by ensuring that the G-8 ... becomes again a club of leading market democracies: It should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia," McCain said. McCain, a harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin, also said that "[Rather] than tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber-attacks, Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization's doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom." Addressing relations with Europe, McCain recommended changes from Bush policies. "The United States did not single-handedly win the Cold War," McCain said. "The trans-Atlantic alliance did, in concert with partners around the world. The bonds we share with Europe in terms of history, values and interests are unique. Americans should welcome the rise of a strong, confident European Union as we continue to support a strong NATO," he said.


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