THE PLANK AUGUST 13, 2008
Matthew Yglesias writes:
Am I a Georgian?
Common sense indicates that, no, I am not a Georgian. But John McCain says “today we are all Georgians.” But does he mean it? Suppose Russia was bombing Atlanta and threatening to advance to Savannah. In solidarity with Georgia (the state) Americans from all fifty states would band together and fight the Russians off. Now I don’t think we should go to war with Russia. And I hope John McCain doesn’t think we should go to war with Russia. But insofar as he doesn’t mean that we should go to war with Russia on Georgia’s behalf, what’s the meaning of the claim that “we are all Georgians”?
Does he really not understand this? The point is that we can't physically defend Georgia from Russian agression, but we can make a symbolic stand of unity with a democratic, pro-Western state that has been attacked by an autocratic aggressor. Is Yglesias trying to argue that, since we don't have the capacity to intervene militarily, we can't make basic moral judgments?--Jonathan Chait