Thursday, July 24, 2008

McCain's Foreign Policy Frustration

Joe Klein has a good column online at Time discussing McCain's sudden foreign policy crisis.

And I don't think it's over the top to call it a crisis, given that foreign policy is really all McCain brings to the table.
McCain's greatest claim to the presidency — his overseas expertise — now seems squandered. He has appeared brittle and inflexible, slow to adapt to changes on the ground, slow to grasp the full implications not only of the improving situation in Iraq but also of the worsening situation in Afghanistan and especially Pakistan. Some will say this behavior raises questions about his age. I'll leave those to gerontologists. A more obvious explanation is that McCain has straitjacketed himself in an ideology focused more on enemies (real and imagined) than on opportunities. "It is impossible to ignore the many striking parallels between [McCain] and the so-called neoconservatives (many of whom are vocal and visible supporters of his candidacy)," writes the Democratic diplomat Richard Holbrooke in a forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs. "I don't know if John has become a neocon," says a longtime friend of the Senator's, "but he sure has surrounded himself with them."
Clearly, Klein just doesn't see McCain as having any real foreign policy wisdom and he makes some good points. Klein concludes
He has also taken a rather exotic line on Russia, which he wants to drum out of the G-8 organization of major industrial powers (a foolish proposal, since none of the other G-8 members would abide by it). His notion of a "League of Democracies" seems a transparent attempt to draw a with-us-or-against-us line in the sand against Russia and China. But that's the point: McCain would place a higher priority on finding new enemies than on cultivating new friends.

The sudden collapse of McCain's Middle East policy is a stunning event, although McCain's regional stridency raised questions from the start. This is a long campaign — with, I fearlessly predict, at least one major Obama downdraft to come — but John McCain seems panicked, and in deep trouble now.[emphasis mine]
There is no question that Obama is going to have a set back. Having been here so many times I really struggle not to get over-confident about this race. It's going to be fun to watch it all play out, and I have a feeling it will stay close until the last week.

No comments: