T Nation

McCain - Foreign Policy Genius


#1

#2

Wow, that sure was a 5 star video - a verbal slip in which McCain, thinking of and mentioning a conference in Germany, actually misspeaks and says Putin is the President of Germany. And I guess we can assume it really affected his point too - no need to continue the video clip…

Gee, with such overwhelming evidence I can see why one would completely ignore evidence of McCain’s solid foreign-policy ideas:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20071101faessay86602/john-mccain/an-enduring-peace-built-on-freedom.html

http://www.ontheissues.org/Foreign_Policy.htm


#3

“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

And hey, why not 100 years? Right?


#4

McCain vs. McCain


#5

[quote]Sloth wrote:
McCain vs. McCain

[/quote]

Those aren’t even contradictory. On the one hand, we did win a quick, overwhelming victory and ousted Saddam’s government in a matter of days. We could have just left the rubble at that point - but there were other policy goals different from simply removing Saddam. On the other, occupation and rebuilding the country has been a long, hard undertaking - and McCain was one of the first people who was calling for more boots on the ground.

The rest isn’t foreign but domestic policy.

On the confederate flag, his points were not mutually exclusive - he switched from an anti-flag stance to a position that it wasn’t a federal issue.

The gay marriage point is also not contradictory - in both clips he specified he was referring to private ceremonies - the first point was that private ceremonies shouldn’t be banned/criminalized, and the second was that the government did not have to grant an official legal status to a gay marriage.

On the Falwell point, I’ll just note that politics have made much stranger bedfellows.

ADDENDUM:

BTW, I should note I have serious reservations about McCain on a number of issues, most particularly 1st Amendment problems with his campaign-finance ideas. But these are just ridiculous.


#6

I’m not sure how one would seperate the open conflict with the inevitable occupation. McCain sold an easy war (again, how can the occupation not be considered?), period. He then turns around and talks as if he was always selling it as a long, difficult, hardship.

�??Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.�?? [CNN, 9/24/02]

�??We�??re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we�??re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.�?? [CNN, 9/29/02]

�??But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.�?? [MSNBC, 1/22/03]


#7

100 years in Iraq “would be fine with me.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFknKVjuyNk

“Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” Right…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAzBxFaio1I&feature=related


#8

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I’m not sure how one would seperate the open conflict with the inevitable occupation. McCain sold an easy war (again, how can the occupation not be considered?), period. He then turns around and talks as if he was always selling it as a long, difficult, hardship.

�??Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.�?? [CNN, 9/24/02]

�??We�??re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we�??re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.�?? [CNN, 9/29/02]

�??But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.�?? [MSNBC, 1/22/03]

[/quote]
They’re two separate things - unless you take the position that it was actually impossible that we would leave at any point. We didn’t get into house-to-house fighting or have any problems in the initial military action (which was contrary to what people were predicting - McCain was responding to those predictions - a little context is always nice).

You’d separate it by talking about the military conflict with the Hussein regime - which is what McCain did. This separation also reflected the military’s point of view - at least as reflected by the “Mission Accomplished” banner from the Bush speech announcing the end of major combat operations, which, if you also recall, Bush specified was put up at the request of the military commanders.

The overthrow of Hussein’s government was “fairly easy.” Rebuilding the country in a manner that was most suitable to long-term stability was the hard part.

The perils of the occupation did take some people by surprise - most notably Rumsfeld - but most of those people also thought we would be out quickly, with the Iraqis taking over. BTW, McCain threw Rumsfeld under the bus pretty early on, comparitively speaking: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6708495/ ; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4096105.stm


#9

[quote]Sloth wrote:
100 years in Iraq “would be fine with me.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFknKVjuyNk

“Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” Right…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAzBxFaio1I&feature=related[/quote]

Again, as we discussed previously, the “100 years” comment, which magically has not become a Howard Dean scream, was in context to a broader point of turning Iraq into something akin to Germany, Japan or South Korea, where we still have troops.

The “Bomb Iran” was a failed attempt at humor.

So, in sum, the initial video was moronic if it was intended to prove or even illustrate irony in the title of this thread. The rest of these examples are pretty bad too if the idea is to demonstrate McCain lacks foreign policy bona fides.


#10

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

ADDENDUM:

BTW, I should note I have serious reservations about McCain on a number of issues, most particularly 1st Amendment problems with his campaign-finance ideas. But these are just ridiculous.[/quote]

BB,

Would you mind sharing some of your reservations about McCain?

As of now I would seriously consider voting for him given my other choices. I generally agree with many of your points so I’d love to hear your thoughts on him.

Thanks


#11

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

Again, as we discussed previously, the “100 years” comment, which magically has not become a Howard Dean scream, was in context to a broader point of turning Iraq into something akin to Germany, Japan or South Korea, where we still have troops.
[/quote]
That’s the criticism, though. Yet another long term commitment to provide yet another nation’s defense. That’s the whole point of me bringing it up. There’s a faction of Republican voters that are interested in less S. Korea’s, not more. We’ve grown sick and tired of these entanglements that obligate American taxpayers and Soldiers to sacrfice for the defense of OTHER nations.

Not really comforted by this explanation.

Frankly, I think the man is a hot-head. I don’t want him anywhere near the presidency.


#12

I’ll give him credit on the torture issue. I’ve not always lived up to what I knew deep down to be right and just, on that topic.


#13

[quote]
BostonBarrister wrote:

ADDENDUM:

BTW, I should note I have serious reservations about McCain on a number of issues, most particularly 1st Amendment problems with his campaign-finance ideas. But these are just ridiculous.

new2training wrote:
BB,

Would you mind sharing some of your reservations about McCain?

As of now I would seriously consider voting for him given my other choices. I generally agree with many of your points so I’d love to hear your thoughts on him.

Thanks[/quote]

Right now I think he’s the least-bad choice. He’s got mettle, he’s got the best foreign policy, and with Phil Gramm on his team I’m confident of his domestic economics. I also think he’s the most electable candidate in a match-up against either Hillary or Obama.

My main areas of concern with him are:

  1. First Amendment related to restrictions on campaign finance reform.

  2. He seems willing to sign us up for Kyoto-style restrictions on C02 emissions.

  3. His support of amnesty for illegals without requiring enforcement or border security first.

  4. He is something of a hothead, as Sloth mentioned.


#14

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I’ll give him credit on the torture issue. I’ve not always lived up to what I knew deep down to be right and just, on that topic.[/quote]

That, more than anything, is why I’d vote for him in November if that’s an option. I share some of your reservations about his foreign policy positions, and some of BB’s about domestic stuff too I’d imagine. But McCain stood up for his country’s honor and for what was right at a time when very few conservative politicians were doing so.


#15

[quote]
BostonBarrister wrote:

Again, as we discussed previously, the “100 years” comment, which magically has not become a Howard Dean scream, was in context to a broader point of turning Iraq into something akin to Germany, Japan or South Korea, where we still have troops.

Sloth wrote:

That’s the criticism, though. Yet another long term commitment to provide yet another nation’s defense. That’s the whole point of me bringing it up. There’s a faction of Republican voters that are interested in less S. Korea’s, not more. We’ve grown sick and tired of these entanglements that obligate American taxpayers and Soldiers to sacrfice for the defense of OTHER nations. [/quote]

Saying you disagree with him on foreign policy issues is quite different than saying he doesn’t have foreign-policy expertise. He’s a traditional Jacksonian when it comes to foreign policy, and he’s very well informed.

[quote]
BostonBarrister wrote:
The “Bomb Iran” was a failed attempt at humor.

Sloth wrote:
Not really comforted by this explanation.

Frankly, I think the man is a hot-head. I don’t want him anywhere near the presidency. [/quote]

He is something of a hot head, but we have enough checks and balances to prevent any short term temper bursts from being problematic. Given a chance to calm down, he has the right instincts - and he can obviously compromise when necessary (see your Falwell point above).


#16

Well, alright. But on both, foreign and domestic policy, I think the man’s a disaster for the Republican party. In the general election his “Bomb Iran” and “100 years” outbursts will doom him. I think the American public has become war weary, and a bit tired of foreign defense, while we have our own concerns here at home.

The Democrat nominee will rip him apart over the above sound bites. And as far domestic concerns, the following article deals fairly well with my objections to McCain… To be fair, I suppose I object to all current Republican candidates. I won’t hide that. And, I don’t think any Republican candidate will fair well against the Democrat nominee.

[i]After spearheading a disastrous, security-undermining illegal alien amnesty bill last year with Teddy Kennedy, “straight-talking” GOP Sen. John McCain claims he has seen the light. In TV appearances, he vows to put immigration enforcement first. On the campaign trail, he offers a perfunctory promise to strengthen border security and emphasizes the need to restore Americans’ trust in their government’s ability to defend the homeland.

“I got the message,” he told voters in South Carolina. “We will secure the borders first.”

But how can McCain cure citizens’ distrust when his own credibility on the issue remains fatally damaged? He doesn’t believe his own election-year spin. And he knows we know it. This is cynicism on steroids with a speedball chaser.

Not all of us have forgotten how the short-fused Arizona senator cursed good-faith opponents in his own party (“F**k you!” and “Chickensh*t” were the choice words he had for Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn during a spat over enforcement provisions). Not all of us have forgotten that he voted against barring felons from receiving amnesty benefits under his plan. Not all of us have forgotten the underhanded, debate-sabotaging manner in which McCain/Kennedy/Lindsey Graham/Harry Reid conspired to ram their package down voters’ throats.

His admission of the shamnesty failure is grudging and bitter. While he now tells conservative voters what they want to hear about the need to build the southern border fence, he takes a contemptuous tone toward physical barriers when talking to businessmen. “By the way, I think the fence is least effective,” he told executives in Milwaukee, according to a recent Vanity Fair profile. “But I’ll build the goddamned fence if they want it.” Straight talk? Try hate talk.

For all his supposed newfound enlightenment about what most Americans want – protection against invasion, commitment to the rule of law, meaningful employer sanctions, an end to sanctuary cities, enforcement-by-attrition plus deportation reform, and an end to special illegal alien benefits that invite more law-breaking – The Maverick remains a Geraldo Rivera Republican. Like the ethnocentric cable TV host who can’t string a sentence about immigration together without drowning in demagoguery, McCain naturally resorts to open-borders platitudes when pressed for enforcement specifics.

Instead of emphasizing the need for local and state cooperation with federal immigration authorities to prevent the release of illegal alien criminals or discussing 100 percent preventable crimes by illegal alien thugs who should never have been on American soil in the first place, McCain harps on open-borders sob stories. Several times over the past year, in response to citizen questioners who have expressed frustration with the lack of accountability for immigration law-breakers, McCain has responded: “I am not going to call up a soldier and tell him I am deporting his mother. … I’m not going to do it. You can do it.”

But what if that mother had stolen an American citizen’s Social Security number to work here illegally? What if she had been previously deported, re-entered illegally, and had been convicted of previous crimes? What if she were part of a human smuggling ring? What if she had been working in a sensitive area – airport security, a military base, a port? Would he still refuse to abide by his constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense and secure the blessings of liberty for law-abiding Americans?

If McCain refuses to enforce immigration law against illegal alien parents of soldiers, what about illegal alien soldiers who used stolen or fake identification to get into the military? And why only illegal alien parents of soldiers? Why not illegal alien parents of police officers, teachers, doctors and store owners? McCain’s selective enforcement policy is the exact recipe for immigration anarchy that we have today.

The hothead has succeeded in intimidating voters and eluding tough questions from the press by playing his rhetorical violin. There is a reason so many liberals in the media and the Democratic Party want John McCain to be the GOP presidential nominee. He gives them cover to continue smearing grassroots conservatives.

In Michigan, the illegal alien parent-of-a-soldier story was met with boos. McCain’s cheerleaders at The New York Times and other press outlets attempted to depict the detractors as insensitive and racist boors – just as they did during last year’s ill-fated shamnesty campaign.

McCain has learned nothing. What about us?[/i]


#17

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

Right now I think he’s the least-bad choice. He’s got mettle, he’s got the best foreign policy, and with Phil Gramm on his team I’m confident of his domestic economics. I also think he’s the most electable candidate in a match-up against either Hillary or Obama.[/quote]

Since Thompson is gone, FWIW I am throwing my support behind McCain.

  1. I like his foreign policy, which is one of the most crucial aspects to the job of President

  2. I like his animus toward profligate spending, and I like the fact that he has Phil Gramm and Tom Coburn in his corner

  3. Unlike many conservatives, I have made peace with the CFR issue with McCain - on that issue, I agree with McCain on the ends he wanted to achieve, but had problems with the means. I recognize the problem CFR was trying to fix - I just thought CFR was an unconstitutional and useless (doesn’t work anyway) way of fixing said problem.

  4. He is the most electable - and I have no interest in championing ideological purity when the end result of it is sitting on the sidelines. American politics is driven by coalitions, and half a loaf in always better with no loaf. This is a balancing act to be sure, but I would rather have a 60% conservative in office than a 0% percent conservative running the show.


#18

Is anyone here actually old enough to remember that during the Iran Hostage Crisis they regularly played “Bomb Iran” (sung to the tune of “Barbara Ann”) on the radio?


#19

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

Is anyone here actually old enough to remember that during the Iran Hostage Crisis they regularly played “Bomb Iran” (sung to the tune of “Barbara Ann”) on the radio?[/quote]

The quote attributed to McCain - “bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” - is based on that diddy.


#20

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Varqanir wrote:

Is anyone here actually old enough to remember that during the Iran Hostage Crisis they regularly played “Bomb Iran” (sung to the tune of “Barbara Ann”) on the radio?

The quote attributed to McCain - “bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” - is based on that diddy.

[/quote]

I figured it could be no other.

That explains people’s reactions, I guess. No cultural/historical frame of reference. I don’t seem to recall anyone back in 1980 who took offense at that song playing on the radio. When did we get so fucking sensitive?