posted by Katrina vanden Heuvel on 08/24/2008
The conventional wisdom is that with a new cold war looming and global conflicts upon us, Barack Obama needed a Vice-President with foreign policy experience. Most establishment pundits buy the view that Joe Biden provides it.
But on one of the key issues relating to US-Russian relations, Biden has been wrong. He has been a fervent champion of NATO expansion, a bipartisan policy whose disastrous consequences we witnessed in the recent and ongoing Russia-Georgia conflict. It is a policy that has done more to damage US-Russian relations than almost any other policy between the two countries.
When Biden traveled to Tbilisi during the conflict in August--presumably to flex and highlight his foreign policy credentials for the Obama campaign--he presumably told Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili of his support for that country's early admission to NATO. (The New York Times reports that the conflict did in fact boost Biden's veep prospects.) What does this say about Biden's foreign policy judgment that he would immediately reward Saakashvili's reckless behavior with a promise of early admission to NATO?