Wednesday, March 26, 2008

McCain on Foreign Policy

There a lot of disagreements that I have with John McCain. But I'll give him credit where due and today's big speech on foreign policy had a couple of interesting bits in it.

First, he:

said that the United States should “close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding” on how to treat detainees determined to be dangerous.
That would be a huge step in the right direction. I'd love to hear both Obama and Clinton make the same pledge, as a signal to the rest of the planet that we're not completely out of our minds.

The other interesting thing he said was this:
Invoking his family’s military history — his father and grandfather were admirals — and his own service in Vietnam, Mr. McCain said: 'I detest war. It may not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description.'

Nevertheless, he said: 'We have incurred a moral responsibility in Iraq. It would be an unconscionable act of betrayal, a stain on our character as a great nation, if we were to walk away from the Iraqi people and consign them to the horrendous violence, ethnic cleansing and possibly genocide that would follow a reckless, irresponsible and premature withdrawal.'
When thinking about the war and what needs to be done next, I get tied up on knots.

On the one hand, the profound wastes of lives, money, and resources thrown away over the past five years makes me want to scream and get us the fuck out right now. On the other hand, McCain's got a point - we profoundly messed that country up and we have some responsibility to try and help make things right over there.

I think where I'd part company with McCain is that I don't believe that a US-dominated military solution is possible and that as long as we're there and seen as occupiers things won't get appreciably better. A more multinational diplomatic solution is needed, but I don't have any good ideas on how to implement that. Recognizing that (a) we fucked up going over there in the first place and (b) we need help to get out would be a good first step, but I'm not sure anybody who is kissing up to Duhbya can do that.

No comments: