Unfortunately, We Won’t Be Seeing a Putin-McCain Debate

The Arizona senator’s op-ed is up at <em>Pravda</em>. But the Russian president’s press secretary says not to expect much more than that.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the new headquarters of "Russia Today" TV channel in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. 
AP
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Sept. 19, 2013, 5:30 a.m.

The mo­ment you were maybe wait­ing for has ar­rived: Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., is of­fi­cially a pub­lished colum­nist in Rus­sia’s Pravda (but not the Pravda you’re think­ing of, see up­date be­low). The opin­ion piece is head­lined “Sen­at­or John Mc­Cain: Rus­si­ans de­serve bet­ter than Putin.” But un­for­tu­nately, Putin’s press sec­ret­ary thinks we all de­serve bet­ter than see­ing the two square-off.

In the op-ed, Mc­Cain pushes aside the idea that he is some­how anti-Rus­si­an. “I am pro-Rus­si­an,” he writes, “more pro-Rus­si­an than the re­gime that mis­rules you today.” He con­tin­ues:

Pres­id­ent Putin and his as­so­ci­ates … don’t re­spect your dig­nity or ac­cept your au­thor­ity over them. They pun­ish dis­sent and im­pris­on op­pon­ents. They rig your elec­tions. They con­trol your me­dia. They har­ass, threaten, and ban­ish or­gan­iz­a­tions that de­fend your right to self-gov­ernance. To per­petu­ate their power they foster rampant cor­rup­tion in your courts and your eco­nomy and ter­ror­ize and even as­sas­sin­ate journ­al­ists who try to ex­pose their cor­rup­tion.

In his con­clu­sion, Mc­Cain writes that he longs for the day when Rus­si­ans have a gov­ern­ment that an­swers to them. The column is worth read­ing, if only for the pure oddity of how it came about and how Mc­Cain tries to ad­dress the Rus­si­an people. 

And yes, Vladi­mir Putin will be read­ing the op-ed.

At least that’s ac­cord­ing to his press sec­ret­ary, Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Rus­sia’s IT­AR-TASS. “We will def­in­itely read it,” he said, but “en­ga­ging him in de­bate is un­likely — it’s the point of view of someone liv­ing across the ocean.”

Peskov also quibbled with what Mc­Cain ac­tu­ally wrote:

As far as what Rus­si­ans de­serve — they’re cap­able of an­swer­ing this ques­tion them­selves and they do an­swer it dur­ing elec­tions. I don’t think that point of view of someone across the ocean plays any sort of role in how Rus­si­ans ex­press their will.

Ap­par­ently, be­ing on the oth­er side of the ocean means that you can’t help guide the policies of an­oth­er coun­try. Per­haps this mes­sage should be trans­mit­ted to Putin.

UP­DATE (9:40 a.m.): CNN re­ports that the Mc­Cain op-ed saga may be even stranger than we thought. Ac­cord­ing to CNN, the Pravda that pub­lished Mc­Cain’s op-ed is just a Rus­si­an web­site, and not ac­tu­ally the Pravda news­pa­per that’s been around since 1912. The two or­gan­iz­a­tions have no con­nec­tion, and just hap­pen to share a name.

Sen. Mc­Cain’s of­fice sent a draft of his op-ed to both the news­pa­per and the un­affli­ated web­site. The news­pa­per didn’t ac­tu­ally pub­lish the piece.

What We're Following See More »
WILL TEST THE NORTH’S STANDDOWN
Joint U.S., South Korea War Games Set to Begin
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
4 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login