Hold-em, Fold-em, Run

If I understand the logic of the McCain camp, the neoconservative intelligentsia and knowledgeable center-right commentators on the horrible situation in Georgia, it looks something like this:

- Russia has called our bluff and dared us to make good on any implicit promises to Georgia that we would protect Georgian territorial integrity.

- Our bluff having been called, we now have no good options, as we have no real points of leverage to force Russia out, and no credibility as an honest broker between the Russians and the Georgians. Any cease-fire will probably take place on Russian terms, and the Georgians will know not to rely on the West to protect them. This lesson will, presumably, be well-learned by other small countries inclined to rely on American protection against large and dangerous adversaries. So even if this war ends non-disastrously for ordinary Georgians, it’s bad for us.

- Therefore, we should have bluffed harder, going all-in with an explicit guarantee, because if we had done that Russia wouldn’t have dared call our bluff, but would have backed down and allowed Georgia to retake South Ossetia by force.

Interestingly, the guys who earn a living playing poker don’t go all in on every hand. But then, McCain is a craps guy.

Anyone know whether Obama has ever won money from anyone who wasn’t a lobbyist for the Illinois State Legislature?