John McCain has a habit of being embarrassed by the background of at least some of the people that he wants the U.S. to support overseas. His visit to Ukraine was no different:
As the U.K.’s Channel 4 news points out, McCain was repeatedly photographed with Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the right wing nationalist party Svoboda.
On the one hand, this is not at all surprising. Tyahnybok and his party have been involved in the protests from early on, their presence is hard to miss if one has been paying attention, and it is hard to imagine how McCain could make a show of support for the protesters without appearing alongside one of the protesters’ prominent political leaders. That raises the question of whether it makes sense for U.S. politicians to insert themselves into a foreign protest movement when a significant part of that movement represents things that most Americans wouldn’t want to endorse. As he was during his jaunt to Syria, McCain was caught on camera next to someone whose conduct and/or beliefs contradict the story that he wants to tell us about the people that he wants the U.S. to support.
The real problem isn’t that he happened to be standing next to a dubious character during the latest trip, but that he keeps ending up in the company of such dubious characters because of his insistence on meddling in events overseas where it would be wiser for the U.S. not to get involved. This is just the latest in a series of episodes in which McCain ends up on the side of some awful groups because they happen to be part of the opposition forces that he demands that the U.S. support. Whether it involves whitewashing the conduct and views of rebel groups or projecting his own views onto protesters, this is not something that just started happening in the last year. It reflects McCain’s consistently poor judgment on these matters, and reminds us once again why Americans shouldn’t trust his judgment.