John McCain’s big shtick is his supposed foreign policy expertise; strip this away and he has little to offer. During the 2008 presidential campaign he just loved to trumpet obscure countries and leaders that he had visited and sat down with – perhaps thinking that Obama had the same mental agility as Dan Quayle. No, only he as president could handle that middle-of-the-night call. And logically you would think that he may have had a point. So let us take a little overseas odyssey ourselves.
McCain in 2008: “I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia.” A few months earlier he had told talk-show host Don Imus (“Imus in the Morning”) he would “work closely with Czechoslovakia and Poland and other countries” to install the European Missile Defense System in Poland. Eight years earlier Bush, Jr. had stated that this confusion (about the Czech Republic and Slovakia) should be a campaign issue. Bush was probably wrong back then, because back then this was not a clear pattern.
Country China. Context: should be shunned until they become a democracy.
Aside from arrogant belief the USA can lecture anyone about democracy, now that the U.S. democracy is for sale to the highest bidder, McCain objects to China’s military spending at a time when the U.S. spends ten to twenty times more; then he uses this as an argument for more military spending. Of course, with McCain intent in engaging in limitless wars, no amount of spending could be enough.
He criticized Bush for attending the Beijing Olympics.
Countries Syria, Nigeria, Georgia, Crimea…..Context: more war, less talk…..
Country Pakistan. Context: Obama’s plan to get Bin Laden.
During the 2008 campaign McCain asked, “Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested invading our ally Pakistan?” McCain also said Pakistan was a failed state before President Musharraf came to power. This is nonsense; the USA did not welcome the Musharraf coup, and remember that Pakistan had been allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, as a result of the actions from the normal cast of villains. Pakistan had been determined to acquire such weapons ever since India demonstrated their capabilities in 1974. The notion of Pakistan being successful would have terrified any legitimate foreign policy expert. But the very same people who had overstated Russia’s military might, and had historically guided US foreign policy based on the priorities of the oil Industry – where running the show at the very time when Pakistan became strategically important. CIA agent Richard Barlow, who reported to Dick Cheney, George Bush Sr’s henchman, has been relentless in exposing the US administration role allowing Pakistan to acquire the bomb – they needed Pakistani help in getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan. So these “rocket scientists” not only created Al-Qaeda, but they ensured Pakistan acquired the bomb. You cannot take on the CIA, George Bush Sr. a lifelong CIA operative and Dick Cheney without paying out the consequences – which Richard Barlow was to discover.
Country Afghanistan. Context: basic common sense would have been to simply attack Afghanistan and not mislead the country into prematurely pivoting to Iraq, thus letting the Al-Qaida leadership escape. But McCain bought into this illegal Iraq war hook, line and sinker.
“Nobody in Afghanistan threatens the United States of America.” [Hannity & Colmes, 4/10/03] “The facts on the ground are we went to Afghanistan and we prevailed there.” [Wolf Blitzer Reports, 4/1/04] “Could I add, it was in Afghanistan, as well, there were many people who predicted that Afghanistan would not be a success. So far, it’s a remarkable success.” [CNN, 3/2/05] “Afghanistan, we don’t read about anymore, because it’s succeeded.” [Charlie Rose Show, 10/31/05]
November 2003, McCain went to explain that diverting troops, equipment, and intelligence assets to Iraq did not pose a threat to the fight against Al-Qaida and its Taliban allies.
Country Afghanistan. Context: Obama’s consistent plan (in the 2008 campaign) to first deploy more troops, then draw down. Today McCain is mad as hell that Obama is drawing down troops:
“the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be determined by conditions on the ground, not by the President’s concern for his legacy.”
McCain has consistently been the most hawkish, always advocating military force, even during times when talks had been productive. He has no time for the six-party talks, where the U.S. works with Japan, China, Russia, and South Korea to coax North Korea. He was significantly more hawkish than “axis of evil” Bush, Jr.
Bear in mind that the American people were misled into this war, and because there were no WMDs, the war was illegal. McCain was strongly supportive of the Bush Administration’s decision to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. Now, here’s the thing: you would presume that a person with a military record, an expert on foreign policy, would actually believe the CIA when they keep telling you there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11; that such an expert would also listen to Richard Clarke, the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council. Surely, such an expert would not fall for clearly phony evidence of WMDs. But he is not an expert, and being wrong is not his biggest fault – ignorance is.
Visiting Iraq in 2008, part of a Senate delegation, he accuses Iran of aiding Al-Qaida. Joe Lieberman, a fellow hawk, has to correct him on camera by saying that Tehran was aiding “Shiite extremists,” Al-Qaeda are Sunni. A slip? Maybe. Evidently not, because just a few weeks later during a Senate meeting he made a similar error – and then says, “Sunni, Shiite, whatever”
Now, you and I may not care about such differences, but if you are heavily involved in foreign policy, a self-proclaimed guru, strategizing about countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine……on and on, all the “red hot” hot spots, you really must know this stuff. What the hell is the point of visiting these places, meeting these leaders, if you remain totally clueless as to how they think, and what really motivates them?
So McCain singing “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” – well, it does not seem so harmless, so out of context now. Can anyone find a foreign policy statement from McCain that indicates anything more than a cartoonish two-dimensional worldview? He really believes that America is great because of its military victories – a somewhat infantile concept in the context of a post-1945 environment. His legacy will ultimately be shattered by his choice of Sarah Palin, whose knowledge of foreign affairs (amongst everything else) was and remains simply grotesque.
Clearly, John McCain is the very last person you want answering that 3-AM phone call. And that is McCain’s strongest suit. Yet McCain might be the SP Disciple’s best excuse for voting Stupidparty. That is a mighty small fig leaf.