Things seem to have gone very wrong in Georgia and South Ossetia. It doesn't really look like anybody has a very clear idea of what is going on. As a presidential candidate you have two choices:
Obama chooses A.
"I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict...Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full-scale war. Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected."
McCain chooses B.
Today news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces.
Seriously, nobody really knows what is going on there. It could be that it is all Russia's fault, but the situation is likely much more complicated than that. There will be plenty of time to criticize Russia later, but if we want to play a healthy and mediating role in stopping the violence, which is what McCain and Obama both claim to want to do, we should probably hold off on picking a fight. Especially considering that we have other serious interests with the Russians who also happen to have a lot of nuclear weapons. McCain promises broad cooperation with the Russians on nuclear proliferation. How exactly does he plan to achieve that if he's going to come out so aggressively on this type of an issue without even thinking through the consequences of shooting first and asking questions second?