Column: Washington remains hobbled by Iraq

So far, reaction in the US to Russia’s invasion of Georgia has been all Vladimir Putin could have wished. Exhausted in every way by its experience in Iraq (a failure not much mitigated by recent progress there), its authority and sense of purpose quite depleted, the US looked slower and less decisive than Europe in its initial response, and that is saying something.

It took repeated prodding from presidential contender John McCain to draw President George W. Bush’s attention from the Beijing Olympics to the fact that Russian forces were overrunning the territory of a US ally. Then, as the White House slowly geared up its rhetoric, dispatched the secretary of state to Tbilisi and began talking vaguely of repercussions, both the administration and the goading Mr McCain were accused of war-mongering hysteria by liberal commentators and even by some conservatives.

The remainder of this column can be read here. Please post comments below.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

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