James Rosen
McClatchy Newspapers
August 23, 2008

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday that his visit to Georgia, Ukraine and Poland, at Sen. John McCain’s behest, persuaded him that the United States and its allies must take tough steps to prevent further Russian military aggression against its smaller neighbors.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, called on NATO to “stop war-gaming on tables in Brussels” and to begin military exercises in Europe to show its commitment to protecting member nations.

“I found a Russia on the move, a Russia that is trying to intimidate its neighbors who are Democratic in nature,” Graham said. “This (Georgia) conflict is not about a border dispute. It’s about the desire by Russia to send a signal to its democratic neighbors that Russia is a dominant power.”

Poland is a NATO member, and the United States backs Georgia’s effort to join the trans-Atlantic organization.

Graham was joined on the trip by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent Democrat from Connecticut.

The two men, McCain’s closest Senate friends, met with the leaders of Ukraine and Georgia on Wednesday, then conferred with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Thursday before returning to Washington.

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