S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Other Nations, as seen by One on the Right

On every foreign policy question, it will be important to chronicle the pronouncements of Senator John McCain during the ensuing months of the presidential campaign. We can look to people whose judgments we trust to explain how Senator John McCain is to the political right along the spectrum on many issues. For example, this does not mean that he is right, Gary Hart says, regarding al Qaeda in Iraq. From these stances his capacity, or more likely, incapacity to be President will become more apparent, due to an overly militarized view for one thing, says colleague Senator Tom Harkin.
McCain's Latest Judgments on other nations -- Let's begin with just a little digest of current stories about Senator McCain's views on Africa and several regarding the Middle East.
Colonialism in Africa -- We would wish he felt the same principles apply in the Middle East. Here is what the Senator said on the question of whether we should intervene in Zimbabwe, courtesy of The Atlantic (Andrew Sullivan's (Matt Yglesias quote):
"If you send in Western military forces, then you risk the backlash from the people, from the legacy that was left in Africa because of the era of colonialism."
Colonialism in the Middle East -- It would seem that contemplating the U.S. staying in Iraq for a hundred years has a faintly colonial ring to it. The current administration, of which McCain will be a mere extension, erroneously believed that setting up free elections was a panacea for troubled Middle East countries -- in contemporary Shiite Iraq, and in Iran (in the 1980's), and in Hamas' rise to power in Lebanon and Palestine, as examples. In all cases Republican administrations (namely Reagan's and G.W. Bush's) then had the dilemma of how to try to make the election outcomes match with their fantasies beforehand.
  • "McCain's idea of victory in Iraq is highly unlikely to be fulfilled" says Juan Cole at Informed Comment. His stated positions change weekly, as a result. To quote:

    Remember how Tom Friedman and Bush administration spokesmen kept saying that "the next six months" would be crucial for Iraq? They said it in 2003, 2004, 2005, etc., etc. Atrios finally called them on it, terming it the "Friedman unit".

    . . . Now we have the new, improved, "McCain unit"-- which is apparently that the next four years will be crucial in Iraq. Indeed, McCain predicted "victory" by 2013, four years after he hopes to take office as the new president. Of course if victory does not come by 2013, then the next McCain unit would kick in, with the years leading up to 2017 being "crucial" for Iraq.The "McCain unit" is already a public relations bust. . . The beauty of the Friedman unit was that it seemed relatively near, but people could be depended to forget about its last use before it was invoked again.

    . . . The "McCain unit" will tax the public's patience too much, not to mention their pocket books. His unit probably has a $1 trillion tax bill attached to it all at once. And his unit is too specific, calling for "victory." The Friedman unit was deliberately vague about what exactly would happen in the next six months that was "crucial" for Iraq.

  • "Falling in a Hamas ditch, the McCain campaign keeps on digging," is how Steve Benen sees it at The Carpetbagger Report. Too quickly jumping on the Bush "appeasement" bandwagon, he was caught in a bit of military vs. diplomacy hypocrisy. He has been scrambling since. To quote:

    When evidence surfaced yesterday that John McCain advocated at least some kind of diplomatic relationship between the United States and Hamas, I assumed the McCain campaign would just say the senator has since changed his mind. After all, the Presidential Candidate McCain frequently bears no resemblance to Senator McCain, and the two routinely take the opposite position on key policy disputes.
    . . . The first spin out of the McCain campaign is that there is no contradiction here.
    . . . Even with the additional context, McCain said just two years ago that engagement with Hamas was a distinct possibility.
    . . . The meaning of McCain’s words were pretty transparent — we may not like Hamas, but if they’re the government, we’ll have to engage them diplomatically. We had “antipathy” towards Hamas before, but now everything’s different.
    . . . The McCain campaign settled on blaming Jamie Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state, the State Department’s chief spokesman during the Clinton administration, and an active supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, for manufacturing this mess. Rubin explained very well why this is McCain’s mess, not his.

  • "MCCain Lies Away the Iran-Contra Scandal" is Phoenix Woman's headline at Firedoglake. This post is a very well done refresher on the nasty details of the scandal, which have a tendency to fade in the hands of the current media with the passage of time. Here's her (NYT) nugget quote:

    "Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,'’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.'’
If you are left with a sense of chaos from all of this you must trust your gut. Because that is what it will be if McCain is elected. If you are left with the feeling that all this has a familiar ring to it, you again must trust your gut. Because it is the kind of head-spinning news that has been coming out of the George Bush administration for nearly eight years. The players would change but the news would not.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.
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The Future Was Yesterday said...

"On every foreign policy question, it will be important to chronicle the pronouncements of Senator John McCain during the ensuing months of the presidential campaign."
You have a much larger facility for storing B.S. than I do.:)

History has proved to me beyond the faintest shadow of doubt, that elections, be they primaries, or general, are nothing but platforms for compulsive liars to perform with total immunity. Very FEW (and all unimportant) campaign promises are ever kept.

Carol Gee said...

Future, sorry about the delay with my response. There are times when I run in second gear and fall behind.
The only reason I keep up with what McCain says is to reassure myself that he really is a dumb as he appears.
I gather that election years are tough for you to swim through. Me too, though for different reasons. The waiting and suspense are what are hard for me. I just want everything to be over and us on a new path, like a little kid, really. Thanks for your comment, my friend.