Monday, September 10, 2018

The Source of John McCain's Hatred for Russia

There is no doubt that John McCain despised Russia and, in particular, Vladimir Putin, a man who he felt was a representative of the old Soviet Union.  Here are a few examples:

1.) A speech given in the Senate on February 7, 2017:  

2.) An interview on CNN from April 2014 where he states that Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country:

3.) An interview on ABC News Australia from May 2017 where he notes that Vladimir Putin/Russia are the premier and more important threat to global security than ISIS (10 minute 30 second mark):

4.) An interview on CNN from March 2017 where he expresses his concerns about America's relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin:

5.) An interview on CNN from March 2014 where he states that the United States should further sanction Russia for its alleged actions in Ukraine:

6.) An address to the anti-government protesters on the Maidan in Kiev, Ukraine from December 2013:

Let's close this section with one of John McCain's last tweets from July 2018:


Now, let's look at a recent video on Russia Insights' YouTube channel which provides us with a fascinating look at John McCain and his background prisoner of war story from both the Vietnamese and Russian viewpoints and that may provide us with a key to why he had such a pathological hatred for all things Soviet/Russian:

Let's put some of the comments from the Vietnamese gentlemen into context.  This map shows every bombing mission carried out by the United States during the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1973 (no data is available for 1974 since geographic co-ordinates are not available) with every point representing a single bombing mission:

Here is a bar graph showing the number of monthly bombing and ground attack missions during the Vietnam War:

Here are the number of bombing and ground attack missions that took place, sorted using the type of aircraft involved:

In terms of tonnage, the United States dropped more bombs on Vietnam than the entire allied forces dropped on Germany during the Second World War as shown in this quote from "The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam" by Edward Miguel and Gerard Roland:

"Vietnam War bombing thus represented at least three times as much (by weight) as both European and Pacific theater World War II bombing combined, and about fifteen times total tonnage in the Korean War. Given the prewar Vietnamese population of approximately 32 million, U.S. bombing translates into hundreds of kilograms of explosives per capita during the conflict. For another comparison, the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had the power of roughly 15,000 and 20,000 tons of TNT, respectively (Grolier 1995). Since general purpose bombs – by far the most common type of bomb used in Vietnam and in our dataset – are approximately 50% explosive material by weight, each atomic bomb translates into roughly 30,000 to 40,000 tons of such munitions. Measured this way, U.S. bombing in Indochina represents 100 times the combined impact of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

This led to the destruction of more than 400 bridges and 50,000 miles of roads.  As an aside, a study by Legacies of War states that the neighbouring nation of Laos, a nation the size of Utah, was the recipient of 260 million cluster bombs from 580,000 bombing missions.  With up to 30 percent of these munitions failing to detonate, there are close to 78 million bomblets that are still taking their toll on Laotians with more than 34,000 people being killed or injured since bombing ceased in 1973.

Perhaps now we can understand why the North Vietnamese were forced to rely on Russian equipment and Russian training to protect their nation from the United States and their massive bombing campaign.  We can also better understand their excitement at having John McCain, a pilot with a relatively high military profile, as a prisoner of war.  At the same time, we do have a better understanding of why John McCain had, to his death, such a rabid hatred for the Soviet Union/Russia and its political leadership as the U.S.S.R. was more or less directly responsible for his capture and incarceration.  Unfortunately, his rhetoric was drawing the United States further and further into another Cold War.

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