It's possible to have differing views on how to handle Russia, although, depressingly, Obama seems to take the maximalist position of bringing Georgia into NATO. But what interests me about McCain's position is not so much the content as the tone. Check out the video above. McCain clearly believes that a nasty spat in the Caucasus is somehow the defining struggle of the next generation. He speaks in ominous tones about Russia, a state he obviously regards as some dark menace on the verge of dominating the planet. He speaks of faraway countries about which we know nothing in the manner of some Wilderness Years Churchill worrying about Hitler.

All of this is quite potty. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. You'd think conservatives would understand this distinction. There is a difference between totalitarian states seeking world expansion and authoritarian petro-states in demographic collapse bullying neighboring states because of perceived humiliations.

Look: every Republican wants to be Churchill. But this is not 1938. And Putin's Russia is not Hitler's Germany. You'll have to find another fantasy on which to base a campaign.

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