Magazine article The American Conservative

McCain: More Enemies, Please

Magazine article The American Conservative

McCain: More Enemies, Please

Article excerpt

JOHN MCCAIN'S address to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council drew praise from pundits for its stated loathing of war and, even more implausibly, for breaking with the current administration. Exemplifying the media swoon, David Broder dubbed McCain's vision "a vastly different approach" when in almost every particular it is an intensified version of the Bush Doctrine.

If implemented, McCain's foreign policy heralds worsening relations with Europe, Russia, and the rising powers of Asia, as well as guaranteeing the perpetuation of the war in Iraq.

McCain retains his traditional hostility toward Russia, which he ridiculously dubbed "revanchist" and promised to expel from the G-8. Further, he insisted that the West show that "the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization's doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom." The blanket statement welcoming "all democracies" has to be read as proof that McCain will continue the dangerous path of pursuing membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and perhaps other ex-Soviet republics even farther east. Together with threatened expulsion from the G-8, NATO expansion into historically Russian territories promises increased tensions with Moscow and with major European allies, especially Germany, whose economic and political interests are tied to Russia.

McCain's "vastly different approach" is just as elusive when it comes to democracy promotion. He called for the creation of a League of Democracies, a permanent coalition of the willing based on the fantasy that the world's democracies necessarily have "shared interests." As the last five years have made clear, democracy may or may not benefit the peoples who adopt it, but it ensures the full and sometimes radical expression of the divergent interests of different nations as interpreted by the majority. McCain shows no sign of having recognized the dangers to U.S. interests or regional stability posed by democracy promotion.

Where McCain does suggest some change, it is not surprising and will do little for American interests. He expressed his opposition to torture and using Guantanamo Bay as a detention facility. He also stated his support for international co-operation on climate change that includes India and China in any agreement. However welcome this may be, these changes will not repair damage to our relations with Europe. They will not overcome European opposition to continuing the Iraq War nor encourage greater European participation in Afghanistan. And while inclusion of India and China under the terms of any new climate treaty would remove a glaring double standard of Kyoto, it will generate resistance from both rising powers that could undermine U. …

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