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Monday, Apr 28, 2008, 7:43 pm

McCain revising the Cold War

By Adam Doster
While the right whines about the DNC's 100 years of war advertisement, check out these two articles that demonstrate quite clearly John McCain's expansive and dangerous views on military power.

First is Matt Yglesias' cover story in The American Prospect, which shows how McCain laid the groundwork for what's now known as the Bush doctrine of preemptive war.
Despite neoconservatism's close association in the public imagination with the Bush administration, and despite McCain's image as a moderate, a look at the record makes clear that McCain, not Bush, is the real neocon in the Republican Party. McCain was the neocons' candidate in 2000, McCain adhered to a truer version of the faith during the early years of hubris that followed September 11, and as president McCain would likely pursue policies that will make what we've seen from Bush look like a pale imitation of the real thing. McCain, after all, is the candidate of perpetual war in Iraq. The candidate who, despite his protestations in a March speech that he "hates war," not only stridently backed the 2003 invasion of Iraq but has spent years calling on the United States to depose every dictator in the world. He's the candidate of ratcheting-up action against North Korea and Iran, of new efforts to undermine the United Nations, and of new cold wars with Russia and China. Rather than hating war, he sees it as integral to the greatness of the nation, and military service as the highest calling imaginable. It is, in short, not Bush but McCain, who among practical politicians holds truest to the vision of a foreign policy dominated by militaristic unilateralism.
While Fareed Zakaria paints McCain as a candidate caught between the two competing strands in Republican foreign policy politics, a viewpoint he might change upon reading Yglesias' piece, this Newsweek column succinctly shows McCain's willingness to accelerate another Cold War (or two).
In his speech McCain proposed that the United States expel Russia from the G8, the group of advanced industrial countries. Moscow was included in this body in the 1990s to recognize and reward it for peacefully ending the cold war on Western terms, dismantling the Soviet empire and withdrawing from large chunks of the old Russian Empire as well. McCain also proposed that the United States should expand the G8 by taking in India and Brazil—but pointedly excluded China from the councils of power.

We have spent months debating Barack Obama's suggestion that he might, under some circumstances, meet with Iranians and Venezuelans. It is a sign of what is wrong with the foreign-policy debate that this idea is treated as a revolution in U.S. policy while McCain's proposal has barely registered. What McCain has announced is momentous—that the United States should adopt a policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers. It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order, a policy that began under Richard Nixon (with Beijing) and continued under Ronald Reagan (with Moscow). It is a policy that would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war.
McCain has one scary-ass vision for America's place in the world, and it's about time voters hear about it.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.

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