Russia’s recent miliatry action against Georgia has reasserted Russia’s international blood-thirst for power and volatility. This is of no small concern to the interests and security of the United States. While much of the political rhetoric regarding foreign policy in the upcoming election has centered around stability in Iraq and Afghanistan, a troop withdrawal timetable, and an increasingly ambitious and aggressive Iranian regime, this recent action by Russia may have an even more significant international implications than Iran’s designs to secure nuclear weapons, and the implications and stakes in the United States’ relationship with Iran couldn’t be bigger.

Christopher Dickey of Newsweek writes:

In fact, the new Great Game, like the old one, will be a long narrative of intrigue and confrontation in which there is no sudden or decisive resolution. Realism will dictate efforts to improve relations with states on Russia’s periphery whether or not their ideologies are compatible with American democratic ideals. Another Iran scholar, Gary Sick at Columbia University, believes the policymakers remaining in the Bush administration have actually come to understand this, albeit very late. “After 9/11 their world view was that the United States had limitless power,” says Sick. “I don’t think they believe that anymore. And if you really believe you have to husband your power in ways that are more cost effective, you have to change our approach to Iran.” It won’t be easy. The Iranians are hard bargainers with regional ambitions of their own, but they are not irrational, and their primary interest is security. Oddly enough, Washington may find that the U.S. benefits by helping them feel safer, not more threatened.

This begs the question: Which presidential candidate, and even more importantly, which Cabinet and Administration, will be best equipped to deal with both the looming Russian and Iranian crisis?