The article has flaws--Ignatius writes "early Cold War... America" where he should write "Richard Nixon, John Foster Dulles, and other cynical and evil politicians playing politics with national security." But the argument for voting against McCain is spot on.
The Risk of the Zinger: John McCain's eyes were flashing with the mischievous spark.... "I've got a zinger coming," he told me, referring to a speech on Russia.... He blasted Vladimir Putin for "the pursuit of autocracy at home and abroad"... urged that Russia be excluded from the G-8... call[ed] for Georgia, already a thorn in Russia's side, to join NATO. McCain's 2006 speech made news, as he knew it would....
[W]hat sticks in my memory of that day in Munich was the flash in McCain's eyes before he made his provocative speech.... We've all seen that mischievous look... it worries me. Zingers don't make good foreign policy.....
[T]he mercurial Saakashvili walked into a trap by launching an attack Aug. 7 on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali -- providing the pretext for the brutal Russian response.... So what encouraged Saakashvili to make his reckless gamble?... [T]he Bush administration, which told the Georgian leader one month that "We always fight for our friends" (as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in July in Tbilisi about Georgia's bid to join NATO).... [P]artly it was cheerleading from the pro-Georgia lobby, in which McCain has been one of the loudest voices.
Let's put aside the fact that McCain's top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has in fact been a lobbyist for Georgia. In his own feisty comments... McCain encouraged Georgians to believe America would back them up in a crisis. That expectation was naive, and it was wrong to encourage it. It was especially wrong to give a volatile leader such as Saakashvili what he evidently imagined was an American blank check.... The better part of wisdom sometimes is to tell small, embattled nations and ethnic groups: Swallow your pride and compromise; the cavalry isn't coming to save you.
There's a moral problem with all the pro-Georgia cheerleading.... [E]arly Cold War... America encouraged oppressed peoples to rise up and fight for freedom -- and then, when things got rough, abandoned them to their fate.... After the brutal suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, responsible U.S. leaders learned to be more cautious, and more honest.... [T]hat lesson: American leaders shouldn't make threats the country can't deliver or promises it isn't prepared to keep. The rhetoric of confrontation may make us feel good, but other people end up getting killed.