Great, But No G-8?

Outlets miss the holes in McCain's Russia rhetoric

On May 27, John McCain called for peace talks with China as well as a heavily collaborative effort with Russia to reduce the presence of nuclear warheads worldwide. Perhaps he means to re-re-reiterate his and Obama’s differing stances on holding talks with quasi-enemies and otherwise scary, international villains. The statement also seems congruous with McCain’s general trend of late: distancing himself from the unpopular current administration’s foreign policy initiatives.

The statement, which received prominent attention from the major press, included the declaration that the United States and Russia “no longer are mortal enemies” and their “special responsibility to reduce [the number of nuclear warheads]” now must draw them together:

[The US should] enter into a new arms control agreement with Russia reflecting the nuclear reductions I will seek….In close consultation with our allies, I would also like to explore ways we and Russia can reduce—and hopefully eliminate—deployments of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

McCain seems to be striking a certain chord with the public in these demands. But turns out it’s played in a minor key: McCain’s vision of “broad-minded internationalism and determined diplomacy” doesn’t even include Russia as a member of the G-8.

In a March 26 speech, McCain stated:

We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia.

Is it really possible for the senator to maintain this pageant-girl idealism for international cooperation while selectively excluding Russia from this influential forum? From the looks of things, that’s not a question worth answering—or asking. The only major print news outlet to pick up on McCain’s discrepancy in this case was The New York Times; none of the other major outlets—including the Associated Press, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post—seemed to find it relevant.

(hat tip to MediaMatters)

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Elizabeth Tuttle is an intern at CJR.