I've often said about John McCain that he is a hammer that sees every problem as a nail, but this is getting ridiculous. After Putin has narrowly regained his party dominance (but with reduced number of party seats) in the Russian legislative election marred by a accusations of tampering**, Grampy McSame has some dire words of warning: "Dear Vlad, the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you."
Today’s Moscow News quotes Senator John McCain as warning Putin that he could meet Gaddafi’s fate. I was so shocked by such an incendiary remark from a former presidential candidate that I checked out the alleged threat on McCain’s Twitter feed. Sure enough, yesterday McCain tweeted, “Dear Vlad, the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you.” Later (presumably after this Moscow News article appeared), he tweeted again, “The Post agrees: ‘Spring is in the Russian air’” with a link to a Washington Post article reporting on demonstrations by Russians opposed to Putin.
Another McCain tweet had a link to a BBC tweet, that stated “@SenJohnMcCain is no fan of Putin’s Russia: ‘We have an obligation to speak up when we see evil prevailing in the world’ he tells us.” Further searching led me to an October Businessweek article that said:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other “dictators” may be “nervous” after the death of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, U.S. Senator John McCain said. “I think dictators all over the world, including Bashar al-Assad, maybe even Mr. Putin, maybe some Chinese, maybe all of them, may be a little bit more nervous,” McCain said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. late yesterday. “It’s the spring, not just the Arab spring.” Qaddafi was killed yesterday after an eight-month armed conflict that left thousands dead.
Don't get me wrong. I get it. Putin back as the President with an election as questionable as this one is something for which to be alarmed, although to be fair, Putin's win was well within the percentages he was enjoying in the weeks leading up to the election. And our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, expressed concern in a reasonable way:
'Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all credible reports of electoral fraud and manipulation and we hope in particular that then Russian authorities will take action on reports that come forward.
'The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. That means they deserve free, fair, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.'
But to liken Putin to Gaddafi and then raise the specter of a violent uprising? That seems more than a little bloodthirsty.
** Copy corrected to reflect that the recent elections were for the Russian legislature. The presidential elections are scheduled for March, 2012. Thank you to G.L. for calling it to our attention. ~ed.