McCain's Realistic Idealism

A Foreign Policy We Can Support

By California Yankee Posted in | | | Comments (44) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Senator John McCain, just back from his five-country fact-finding mission to the Middle East and Europe, outlined his vision of foreign policy in a remarkable speech at The Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
The Republican presidential nominee to be, started by denouncing war:

When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years.

My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day.

In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well.

I detest war. It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description.

When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are sacrificed. Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; economies are damaged; strategic interests shielded by years of patient statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict.

Not the valor with which it is fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly.

Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war. However heady the appeal of a call to arms, however just the cause, we should still shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us.

Read on. There is much more.


He then went on to speak of his realistic idealism, rejecting unilateralism recognizing we are not alone in the world --that "our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want" -- and saying the struggle against terrorism is not primarily about military force, but instead about winning over moderate Muslims through diplomacy, development and trade:

I am an idealist, and I believe it is possible in our time to make the world we live in another, better, more peaceful place, where our interests and those of our allies are more secure, and American ideals that are transforming the world, the principles of free people and free markets, advance even farther than they have. But I am, from hard experience and the judgment it informs, a realistic idealist. I know we must work very hard and very creatively to build new foundations for a stable and enduring peace. We cannot wish the world to be a better place than it is. We have enemies for whom no attack is too cruel, and no innocent life safe, and who would, if they could, strike us with the world's most terrible weapons. There are states that support them, and which might help them acquire those weapons because they share with terrorists the same animating hatred for the West, and will not be placated by fresh appeals to the better angels of their nature. This is the central threat of our time, and we must understand the implications of our decisions on all manner of regional and global challenges could have for our success in defeating it.

President Harry Truman once said of America, "God has created us and brought us to our present position of power and strength for some great purpose." In his time, that purpose was to contain Communism and build the structures of peace and prosperity that could provide safe passage through the Cold War. Now it is our turn. We face a new set of opportunities, and also new dangers. The developments of science and technology have brought us untold prosperity, eradicated disease, and reduced the suffering of millions. We have a chance in our lifetime to raise the world to a new standard of human existence. Yet these same technologies have produced grave new risks, arming a few zealots with the ability to murder millions of innocents, and producing a global industrialization that can in time threaten our planet.

To meet this challenge requires understanding the world we live in, and the central role the United States must play in shaping it for the future. The United States must lead in the 21st century, just as in Truman's day. But leadership today means something different than it did in the years after World War II, when Europe and the other democracies were still recovering from the devastation of war and the United States was the only democratic superpower. Today we are not alone. There is the powerful collective voice of the European Union, and there are the great nations of India and Japan, Australia and Brazil, South Korea and South Africa, Turkey and Israel, to name just a few of the leading democracies. There are also the increasingly powerful nations of China and Russia that wield great influence in the international system.

In such a world, where power of all kinds is more widely and evenly distributed, the United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone. We must be strong politically, economically, and militarily. But we must also lead by attracting others to our cause, by demonstrating once again the virtues of freedom and democracy, by defending the rules of international civilized society and by creating the new international institutions necessary to advance the peace and freedoms we cherish. Perhaps above all, leadership in today's world means accepting and fulfilling our responsibilities as a great nation.

One of those responsibilities is to be a good and reliable ally to our fellow democracies. We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to. We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact -- a League of Democracies -- that can harness the vast influence of the more than one hundred democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests.

At the heart of this new compact must be mutual respect and trust. Recall the words of our founders in the Declaration of Independence, that we pay "decent respect to the opinions of mankind." Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies. When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic, or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them.


As evidence of good faith on this score and to reassure allies in around the world, as well as Democrats and independents that he would practice robust diplomacy and seek to repair the damaged American image abroad, McCain rejected torture and said we should close Guantanamo:

America must be a model citizen if we want others to look to us as a model. How we behave at home affects how we are perceived abroad. We must fight the terrorists and at the same time defend the rights that are the foundation of our society. We can't torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured. I believe we should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees under our control.


McCain also emphasized his concern about climate change calling for a successor to the Kyoto Treaty:

There is such a thing as international good citizenship. We need to be good stewards of our planet and join with other nations to help preserve our common home. The risks of global warming have no borders. We and the other nations of the world must get serious about substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years or we will hand off a much-diminished world to our grandchildren. We need a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner. We Americans must lead by example and encourage the participation of the rest of the world, including most importantly, the developing economic powerhouses of China and India.


Invoking the memory of President Kennedy, McCain's vision includes a closer, more integrated America as the model for a new 21st century relationship between North and South:

Four and a half decades ago, John Kennedy described the people of Latin America as our "firm and ancient friends, united by history and experience and by our determination to advance the values of American civilization." With globalization, our hemisphere has grown closer, more integrated, and more interdependent. Latin America today is increasingly vital to the fortunes of the United States. Americans north and south share a common geography and a common destiny. The countries of Latin America are the natural partners of the United States, and our northern neighbor Canada.

Relations with our southern neighbors must be governed by mutual respect, not by an imperial impulse or by anti-American demagoguery. The promise of North, Central, and South American life is too great for that. I believe the Americas can and must be the model for a new 21st century relationship between North and South. Ours can be the first completely democratic hemisphere, where trade is free across all borders, where the rule of law and the power of free markets advance the security and prosperity of all.


The speech also focused on the divide between East and West. McCain says that China and the United States are not destined to be adversaries, but notes that until China moves toward political liberalization, our relationship will be based on periodically shared interests rather than the bedrock of shared values:

Dealing with a rising China will be a central challenge for the next American president. Recent prosperity in China has brought more people out of poverty faster than during any other time in human history. China's newfound power implies responsibilities. China could bolster its claim that it is "peacefully rising" by being more transparent about its significant military buildup, by working with the world to isolate pariah states such as Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe, and by ceasing its efforts to establish regional forums and economic arrangements designed to exclude America from Asia.

China and the United States are not destined to be adversaries. We have numerous overlapping interests and hope to see our relationship evolve in a manner that benefits both countries and, in turn, the Asia-Pacific region and the world. But until China moves toward political liberalization, our relationship will be based on periodically shared interests rather than the bedrock of shared values.

He was also more realistic about Putin's Russia:

We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia. Rather than tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, Western nations should make clear 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.


McCain's vision includes Africa where he wants to eradicate malaria:

While Africa's problems -- poverty, corruption, disease, and instability -- are well known, we must refocus on the bright promise offered by many countries on that continent. We must strongly engage on a political, economic, and security level with friendly governments across Africa, but insist on improvements in transparency and the rule of law. Many African nations will not reach their true potential without external assistance to combat entrenched problems, such as HIV/AIDS, that afflict Africans disproportionately. I will establish the goal of eradicating malaria on the continent -- the number one killer of African children under the age of five. In addition to saving millions of lives in the world's poorest regions, such a campaign would do much to add luster to America's image in the world.


McCain will continue to seek to reverse the North Korean and stop the Iranian nuclear programs:

We also share an obligation with the world's other great powers to halt and reverse the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The United States and the international community must work together and do all in our power to contain and reverse North Korea's nuclear weapons program and to prevent Iran -- a nation whose President has repeatedly expressed a desire to wipe Israel from the face of the earth -- from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We should work to reduce nuclear arsenals all around the world, starting with our own. Forty years ago, the five declared nuclear powers came together in support of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and pledged to end the arms race and move toward nuclear disarmament. The time has come to renew that commitment. We do not need all the weapons currently in our arsenal. The United States should lead a global effort at nuclear disarmament consistent with our vital interests and the cause of peace.


In the remainder of his speech McCain forcefully made the case for winning the war the Islamic extremists continue to wage against us:

If we are successful in pulling together a global coalition for peace and freedom -- if we lead by shouldering our international responsibilities and pointing the way to a better and safer future for humanity, I believe we will gain tangible benefits as a nation.

It will strengthen us to confront the transcendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. This challenge is transcendent not because it is the only one we face. There are many dangers in today's world, and our foreign policy must be agile and effective at dealing with all of them. But the threat posed by the terrorists is unique. They alone devote all their energies and indeed their very lives to murdering innocent men, women, and children. They alone seek nuclear weapons and other tools of mass destruction not to defend themselves or to enhance their prestige or to give them a stronger hand in world affairs but to use against us wherever and whenever they can. Any president who does not regard this threat as transcending all others does not deserve to sit in the White House, for he or she does not take seriously enough the first and most basic duty a president has -- to protect the lives of the American people.

We learned through the tragic experience of September 11 that passive defense alone cannot protect us. We must protect our borders. But we must also have an aggressive strategy of confronting and rooting out the terrorists wherever they seek to operate, and deny them bases in failed or failing states. Today al Qaeda and other terrorist networks operate across the globe, seeking out opportunities in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and in the Middle East.

Prevailing in this struggle will require far more than military force. It will require the use of all elements of our national power: public diplomacy; development assistance; law enforcement training; expansion of economic opportunity; and robust intelligence capabilities. I have called for major changes in how our government faces the challenge of radical Islamic extremism by much greater resources for and integration of civilian efforts to prevent conflict and to address post-conflict challenges. Our goal must be to win the "hearts and minds" of the vast majority of moderate Muslims who do not want their future controlled by a minority of violent extremists. In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.

We also need to build the international structures for a durable peace in which the radical extremists are gradually eclipsed by the more powerful forces of freedom and tolerance. Our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are critical in this respect and cannot be viewed in isolation from our broader strategy. In the troubled and often dangerous region they occupy, these two nations can either be sources of extremism and instability or they can in time become pillars of stability, tolerance, and democracy.

For decades in the greater Middle East, we had a strategy of relying on autocrats to provide order and stability. We relied on the Shah of Iran, the autocratic rulers of Egypt, the generals of Pakistan, the Saudi royal family, and even, for a time, on Saddam Hussein. In the late 1970s that strategy began to unravel. The Shah was overthrown by the radical Islamic revolution that now rules in Tehran. The ensuing ferment in the Muslim world produced increasing instability. The autocrats clamped down with ever greater repression, while also surreptitiously aiding Islamic radicalism abroad in the hopes that they would not become its victims. It was a toxic and explosive mixture. The oppression of the autocrats blended with the radical Islamists' dogmatic theology to produce a perfect storm of intolerance and hatred.

We can no longer delude ourselves that relying on these out-dated autocracies is the safest bet. They no longer provide lasting stability, only the illusion of it. We must not act rashly or demand change overnight. But neither can we pretend the status quo is sustainable, stable, or in our interests. Change is occurring whether we want it or not. The only question for us is whether we shape this change in ways that benefit humanity or let our enemies seize it for their hateful purposes. We must help expand the power and reach of freedom, using all our many strengths as a free people. This is not just idealism. It is the truest kind of realism. It is the democracies of the world that will provide the pillars upon which we can and must build an enduring peace.

If you look at the great arc that extends from the Middle East through Central Asia and the Asian subcontinent all the way to Southeast Asia, you can see those pillars of democracy stretching across the entire expanse, from Turkey and Israel to India and Indonesia. Iraq and Afghanistan lie at the heart of that region. And whether they eventually become stable democracies themselves, or are allowed to sink back into chaos and extremism, will determine not only the fate of that critical part of the world, but our fate, as well.

That is the broad strategic perspective through which to view our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many people ask, how should we define success? Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is the establishment of peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic states that pose no threat to neighbors and contribute to the defeat of terrorists. It is the triumph of religious tolerance over violent radicalism.

Those who argue that our goals in Iraq are unachievable are wrong, just as they were wrong a year ago when they declared the war in Iraq already lost. Since June 2007 sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq has been reduced by 90 percent. Overall civilian deaths have been reduced by more than 70 percent. Deaths of coalition forces have fallen by 70 percent. The dramatic reduction in violence has opened the way for a return to something approaching normal political and economic life for the average Iraqi. People are going back to work. Markets are open. Oil revenues are climbing. Inflation is down. Iraq's economy is expected to grown by roughly 7 percent in 2008. Political reconciliation is occurring across Iraq at the local and provincial grassroots level. Sunni and Shi'a chased from their homes by terrorist and sectarian violence are returning. Political progress at the national level has been far too slow, but there is progress.

Critics say that the "surge" of troops isn't a solution in itself, that we must make progress toward Iraqi self-sufficiency. I agree. Iraqis themselves must increasingly take responsibility for their own security, and they must become responsible political actors. It does not follow from this, however, that we should now recklessly retreat from Iraq regardless of the consequences. We must take the course of prudence and responsibility, and help Iraqis move closer to the day when they no longer need our help.

That is the route of responsible statesmanship. 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. Our critics say America needs to repair its image in the world. How can they argue at the same time for the morally reprehensible abandonment of our responsibilities in Iraq?

Those who claim we should withdraw from Iraq in order to fight Al Qaeda more effectively elsewhere are making a dangerous mistake. Whether they were there before is immaterial, al Qaeda is in Iraq now, as it is in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Somalia, and in Indonesia. If we withdraw prematurely from Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq will survive, proclaim victory and continue to provoke sectarian tensions that, while they have been subdued by the success of the surge, still exist, as various factions of Sunni and Shi'a have yet to move beyond their ancient hatreds, and are ripe for provocation by al Qaeda. Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. I believe a reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values. Iran will also view our premature withdrawal as a victory, and the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the State of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly. These consequences of our defeat would threaten us for years, and those who argue for it, as both Democratic candidates do, are arguing for a course that would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would entail far greater dangers and sacrifices than we have suffered to date. I do not argue against withdrawal, any more than I argued several years ago for the change in tactics and additional forces that are now succeeding in Iraq, because I am somehow indifferent to war and the suffering it inflicts on too many American families. I hold my position because I hate war, and I know very well and very personally how grievous its wages are. But I know, too, that we must sometimes pay those wages to avoid paying even higher ones later.

Most newspaper reports describe McCain's speech as an attempt to distance himself from President Bush.

Democrats sought to link McCain to the Bush administration's foreign-policy:

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called Sen. McCain's softer approach "empty rhetoric." Both Sens. Clinton and Obama released statements asserting that Sen. McCain's desire to stay in Iraq would amount to a third term of the Bush administration.

They obviously failed to read McCain's Speech before attacking it as blindly as Hillary and Obama continue to attack each other.

Even here at RedState McCain's speech won faint praise.

In the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler is more fair:

This is McCain's firmest declaration of independence from Bush's approach, which was once described by then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as thus: "He tries to persuade others why that is the correct position. When it does not work, then we will take the position we believe is correct." McCain, by contrast, dispenses with Bush's notion that there is just one superpower and argues that the rise of many powers makes it even more essential to consider other countries' views.

[. . .]

McCain embraces Bush's push for greater democracy in the Middle East, yet appears critical of it at the same time. McCain actually accepts Bush's argument that the embrace of stable autocracies has led to instability in the region. But, strikingly, McCain seems intent on marrying the word "idealism" with a reference to "realism," underscoring how discredited he believes Bush's vision has become in the minds of voters.

McCain's "Realistic Idealism" is a vision I can support. More importantly our allies around the world and Democratic deserters, and Independents can also support it. I hereby endorse this vision and encourage you to do the same. Like the Jerusalem Post said "McCain Gets It."

I apologize for the length of the excerpts, but I thought it important to convey the true breadth and tone of McCain's vision. Reading summaries and critiques lets others do the thinking for you. Snippets can't help you grasp the import, which you should have especially if you want to disagree in a knowledgeable manner. This speech deserves to be read in its entirety. Please invest the time required to read, the whole thing, which is available here.

« Dueling June Obama fundraising claims?Comments (2) | At Winter Soldier II: Will You Sign an Affidavit? NopeComments (11) »
McCain's Realistic Idealism 44 Comments (0 topical, 44 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Excellent speech. I don't agree with everything in it, but it's clear that he has put a great deal of thought into these issues, and it's clear that he has a great deal of depth of knowledge on which to base his points of view.

Contrasted with Obama and Clinton, the difference is nothing short of galactic. They see these sorts of questions merely as political sticks to beat people with. McCain understands this is very serious business.

"I ain't never votin' fo another Democrat so long as I can draw breath! I'll vote for a dog first!" - Leola Thomas

Though I have decided to vote for McCain in the general election
I have not felt good about it. Particularly his stance on immigration, global warming and what he is calling torture at Gitmo. The contents of your post and its links, especially the Jerusalem Post link, have given me a lot to think about. As the
election draws near my anxiety about a McCain presidency has diminished somewhat. We can't expect to agree with him on everything and I hope that in time he can be persuaded to alter his stance on some of the issues I mentioned but he may just be the candidate we need at THIS point in history.

Thank you for this post.

( 1.50, -1.08)

insistence that the Jihad is "the transcendent challenge of our time," the good Senator has devoted precious little intellectual effort to examining what it is, and from whence it has come.

McCain is hardly unusual in this: in fact he shares with virtually the entire ruling class of the West, Right and Left, a resolute refusal to undertake this examination objectively.

And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

I have always had problems with McCain's maverick ways.

Close Gitmo, Carbon Offsets and diplomacy to strengthen alliances so the rest of the world will like us? This is stated in the context that we have not been engaged in diplomacy. That wildly irresponsible President Bush "won't talk to our allies". I think Mr Obama has been saying that too. I have a question, if "our allies want to roll over and play dead" to the terrorists, do we do the same so they will like us too? John Kerry would be proud, if it wasn't John Kerry in a McCain suit. This was not the speech of a conservative.

The only thing he left out was "the path to citizenship" for illegals.

This speech during the primaries would have signaled his demise.

However, I have resigned myself to his candidacy and that he is still better than what the Democrats offer.

This is only my opinion, but I'll move along now before I get some rocks hurled my way.

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(""The only reason that some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.")

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(""The only reason that some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.")

In my "On The Bus" series, I have a video of him discussing global warming in a NH Town Hall meeting. He has advocated shutting down Gitmo for quite a while. And the "diplomacy" angle is not new either. All the candidates talked about restoring the U.S.'s image and doing more "diplomacy" in vague ways.

Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

... gosh these policies are crazy now just as much as they were then. This is why he gets my blood pressure up. I do not, and I will not support a candidate who tries to out liberal a liberal so he will be liked. I want a candidate who will actually look at empirical evidence of what works and do the right thing. I do not want a candidate who panders.

Now that I have that out of my system, I will conclude that I will be voting for him because he is better then Hillery or Obama, but it will not be easy for me.

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(""The only reason that some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.")

Your friendly neighborhood malcontent here...LOL

He didn't speak about these issues in such a blatant and europandering way. If he had he'd be toast right now.

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

Look, we disagree with McCain. But let's face it, we can undo a cap-and-trade system under his successor (or through conservatives in Congress make it less offensive to start with). We can re-open Gitmo - in fact, if the discussions and attempts to find an alternative that McCain mentions don't pan out, my guess is that he will not close it; it only gets closed if there is a viable alternative. We can weather McCain on immigration, and we can deal with a delay in dismantling campaign finance laws.

In the end we could also undo much of the domestic disaster that would be President Obama - you can repeal tax hikes, you can cut spending, you can scale back attempts at nationalizing industries.

What is clear though is that we would not be able to "undo" without great expense and bloodshed, the damage that a Democrat might do overseas. We will not be able to turn back the clock on a nuclear Iran, a crippled Israel, a China that is emboldened to aggressive actions in Taiwan. Those conservatives and Republicans who are "sitting out" the presidential election should look no further than Iran to see what can happen - we deregulated in the 80s, we got inflation under control and brought interest rates down, we got the economy back on track. But we are still living with the fruits of Jimmy Carter's weakness in foreign policy that led to the Iranian Revolution and the installation of a radical islamist government.

So go ahead and abstain if you want. But don't come crying on here when the inevitable result of that abstention comes to pass.

I am curious to find out who you were responding too when saying, "So go ahead and abstain if you want." I didn't see any post where they said they were going to abstain.

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(""The only reason that some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.")

It reminded me why I supported him in the past, and why I should continue to support him in the future. Very well done, sir.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.

Rush and Levin are still whining like little girls who didn't get the boy- but McCain is working on building a center right coalition to fight down Obama in the fall.

Smart, and I agree with what he is saying and doing.

Obama is Jimmy Carter- only without the sweater.

... closing Gitmo and Global Warming Carbon offsets are a good thing?

I am just curious.

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(""The only reason that some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.")

But with Obama/Clinton you get not only what you mentioned above, but nationalized socialist healthcare, higher taxes, and laws that are generally written by trial lawyers, labor unions, and left-wing activist groups like

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

... that does not mean we should stop criticizing stupidity when we see it.

Support the candidate, but criticize the stupidity when you see it. We did that for Harriet Miers, and we are going need to do it a lot more with John McCain's stupidity..

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(""The only reason that some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.")

It's a PR disaster at the moment. Close it and find some other way of keeping the bad guys where you can see them.

What's your suggestion?

It'd be insanely irresponsible to talk seriously about closing that storage facility for vicious murderers, without already having a detailed plan for what to do with them.

PR must bend to reality.

HTML Help for Red Staters
"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

...breaking off of Antarctica where they could go. There would be no escape, and they could have all the herring they could eat. It's part of the prison-industrial complex's vast global Gitmo warming conspiracy.

(-2.75, -4.92)

Fighting for conservatism one day at a time.

Say you're closing it. Then spit them up and scatter them around. Anyone you can convict can go into the legal system. As for the rest I don't care quite what befalls them.

I've nothing against indefinite detention in these cases, but Gitmo is a symbol - it's a ready-made placard for the anti-war or Al-Q types. So split it up into this and that facility and it disperses the bad smell.

Come now. You're the one suggesting that you don't like the current location. So tell us a GOOD location then.

HTML Help for Red Staters
"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

Bounce them from this facility to that, find some friendly countries to hold them where you can. But the issue needs to be dispersed not made a rallying point.

I don't think that either of us believe that a President McCain will authorise the release of anyone that is likely to harm America or the it's wider interests, but I don't see the ideological need to keep them there.

Neil!!!!...Finally we agree on something....Will small wonders never cease?


--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

Gitmo is nothing but a wedge used by the left to hurt the administration. They could care less about the detainees there,
it's more about making a Republican administration look evil.
Close it and you are capitulating to a bunch of leftist media whores.

( 1.50, -1.08)

Not only that Mike....They'd find something else to tar and feather us with. That's why appeasement never works because there's always something else to capitulate over when your done on appeasing your enemies over their last issue!

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

Nope by Risky

Release them all and your're capitulating.

Announce your closing it and scatter the bad-hats around and you've taken away the stick they're poking at you.

CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

I can always count on the fact that if I like a speech McCain gives it'll be a divisive one for conservatives.

Honestly, except for a few details and slight differences in rhetorical word sets this seems like a speech that Obama would be giving to a somewhat conservative crowd. In fact, I propose that Obama steal most of these items (malaria eradication, environmental accords, China/Russia democratization) immediately. I don't say that to needle you, but the issues dealt with are mostly all party-neutral, centrist issues, and I'll be interested to see if (and where) McCain talks about conservative issues as much as centrist ones.

It's really too bad about the whole Iraq (Iran?!) war thing (in which I disagree with the war as a strategy for democratizing/neutralizing/reforming Iraq and the Muslim world, not because it's evil), because otherwise I wouldn't worry too much about McCain becoming president. Or, at least, this election would fall in line with previous elections wherein I didn't feel like things would get worse by quantum leaps if we elected this or that president.

Anyway, McCain is going after centrist voters -- and it's a good strategy considering the weak hold the Dems have on centrists given their situation -- not conservative ones (as evinced by some of your reactions), and if my reaction is any indication, he's doing an okay job with this speech. Well, if anyone had actually heard this speech he'd be doing a good job, but they haven't.

(-2.75, -4.92)

With the train wreck that is the Democrat primary process going on, a lot of moderate and working-class "Reagan Democrats" are getting increasingly uneasy over both Hillary and Obama.

McCain had to give this kind of moderate speech at this point in time. He's trying to reassure those so-called "Reagan Democrats" that they can trust him more than they can trust either Hillary or Obama (and trust him more than Bush too). He has to do that before the Democrat nominee (whoever it turns out to be) can begin to heal the divisions in their party and win over these voters.

Let's remember that the "Reagan Democrats" are still DEMOCRATS, not conservative Republicans. And they are definitely NOT Bush supporters. A speech that sounds like "Four More Years! [of Bush]" would fall flat on its face with these "Reagan Democrats," and squander McCain's opportunity to close the sale with them.

To put it simply: Your conservative votes, McCain can pick up later, at the GOP convention, perhaps with his choice of running mate. The moderate and "Reagan Democrat" votes, McCain needs to pick up right now, while the Hillary-Obama fight is still fresh and radioactive.

Conservatives may not like this--that they are not McCain's highest priority right now--but that's the hard reality. Conservatives weren't going to vote for Hillary or Obama anyway. But there were an awful lot of moderate voters who were favorably inclined toward one of the other of these two--until this train wreck in the Democrat primary process created an opportunity for McCain to capitalize on, if he moves swiftly as he seems to be doing.

Going after centrists is a losing strategy because you lose far more conservatives from your base than you gain from centrists!

Dole Proved that. George H W Bush proved it. Ford proved it....McCain is likely to prove it unless the Dems continue on their current course and hand it to McCain

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

Ford lost because he pardoned Nixon. And let us remember, he was not an elected president. He had never run a national campaign.

Bush 41 lost his election for two reasons. One, he raised taxes. And the biggest reason was a man named H. Ross Perot. If that had been a two man race, we probably would not be looking at a possible Hillary dem nomination. Those two would have been gone from the political scene.

Dole just wasn't going to beat a popular incumbent president. Times were goooood. Life was easy, no threats to speak of and the economy was decent. And lest you forget, Bill Clinton ran a centrist campaign.

Given the damage to the R brand right now, McCain must appeal to centrists. We don't have to like it, but that is the reality. And seriously, where else are we going to go? Stay home and give Obama the SCOTUS? The keys to the nukes? I don't think so.

Clinton wasn't all that popular when Dole started that Campaign as I recall. I personally believe anyone else could have beat Clinton. But Republicans bought the MSM line that he was the only one that could beat Clinton.

I remember not being able to wait to go cast a vote against Slick Willie when it all started...Then Dole started bad and only got worse as time went on...His header off that stage said everything there was to say about 1996. I've fallen and I can't get up was the cry of the day...

I've never walked to the polls as disheartened as I was that election day and thought I never would be again...I should have known better.

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

And thanks for summarizing it here. I like many of his points. Don't agree with Kyoto - but I do believe we should be good stewards of our home, nation and world.


Kyoto was a bad deal. The way I read it he's after a deal that is based on sounder economics, but presentign it as "beyond Kyoto" rather than "instead of Kyoto" is smart politics.

As I see it the break between McCain and some conservatives on foreign policy is that he is anti-isolationist. He wants to point out the common ground with other democracies in the WoT rather than to ignore and condemn them.

This doesn't mean taking orders from the UN/EU/Illuninati or the rest of the tinfoil-heads' claims. It means that you focus on the enemy in hand rather than rail against the whole world.

Likewise he wants to expand free trade with America's neighbours and the rest of the world rather than blame them for various domestic economic troubles.

This is going to be hard to be hard to swallow for those who see international trade as a zero sum game and see security policy as America vs the world rather than the civilised world vs the fanatics.

Where has kowtowing to our so called EU allies when dealing with Iran & North Korea...We've had 16 years, (starting with the Clinton Administration) of empty threats and endless negotiation.

North Korea has gotten the Bomb and Iran is continuing to work towards it and we are still trying to negotiate with them with no credible threat of negative consequences.

I've had hostage negotiations training and the first thing that you have to establish in any negotiation is to establish at least an equal power arrangement with your adversary...You can make demands of someone who has a gun to your head if you don't have a gun to his or can show him your allies have multiple guns pointed at his head...

It looks like McCain will continue the joke that has passed fo negotiation with Iran for at least another 4 years or until Iran gets a nuke and sets it off over Israel and I don't see how Clinton's or Obama's would be any different.

I will likely vote for McCain for 1 reason and that's Iraq...besides that he's an absolute joke and this speech proves it!

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

Hmm. Some of your "So called allies" are still stuck in at the sharp end and I'm lost as to what effect Europe has on Korea policy.

As for Iran I'm completely unclear what you're proposing you should do and how the EU has stopped you doing it.

Good point on North Korea...I went back and added them in later and didn't proof out the European part.

We should be making it clear that either Iran stop or there will be negative consequences...

We could tell our Allies they can go along with Sanctions or we will institute a naval blockade and lock down imports from the Iraq and Afghanistan borders. In other words ask them politely to go along with us and let them know it doesn't matter if they do or not we're going to do what we're going to do anyway.

Whatever is done we have to change the status quo or we'll be faced with a Nuclear armed Iran. Endlessly talking across the table with no real threat of negative consequences will get us nowhere. As far as McCain's speech is concerned...we can't afford to wait on our allies to decide it's time to do something or we'll be standing around in stunned amazement as the Britons and French were when the bombs started falling on Poland!

--"Faith is a free work to which no one can be forced. Nay it is a Divine work, done in the Spirit."--Martin Luther

stand continues to be troubling, but this and the global warming baloney are part of hsi appeal to center. On the whole though, he'll be fine. He gets the threat of Islamic fascism and that's the big one..

I'm far more worried about the economic side, where his speech on the mortgage mess and his proposal for 0% mortgages show he's pretty ignorant and still not seeking the advice of his better advisors (Gramm and Forbes).

as a national security election. The democrat candidate will have to respond to it. Whoever it is will never be able to achieve the levels of policy, vision, eloquence and strength that mcCain here displays.

To some of the points that were raised above:

This is not a departure from mccain's primary campaigning -- on global warming (sigh) the need for diplomacy and a stronger alliance, the need to win the war in Iraq, his reasons on gitmo/torrture, were all expressed during the campaign and many debated by his opponents. Hence, not an appeal to centrists as some are claming, but rather a standard center-right argument.

McCain has strongly supported elements of Bush's approach to the war on terror -- the need to replace autocracies in the region with democracies, the right to being pre-emptive rather than reactive post 9/11 -- while rejecting others.

These latter include the need to create new alliance structures for this new threat. Bush relied very heavily on his relationships with tony Blair and with Putin (these both came up short, Blair being too weak and liberal to move his nation to support us, and Putin being interesting in restoring Russia's power) and on pre existing organizations -- the UN and NATO -- for support. yeah, that worked well...anybody remember "The Coalition of the Willing?"

What McCain is proposing is the creation of new alliance organizations -- what he calls the alliance of democracies -- to replace these organizations, especially the UN. I don't believe mcCain mentioned the UN in his speech. Certainly he regards i as corrupt and useless, and getting its imprimateur on a unilateral military action by us (such as the invasion of Iraq) is worthless.

In addition, the speech recognizes that we need new agreements on how the combatants in this war will be treated -- since they don't come the Geneva conventions, which deal with legitimate uniformed combatants of nations. i don't believe gitmo was ever intended to be a permanent solution to this problem -- I think it was an ad hoc decision on how to deal with these terrorists. To some it's practically a monument on a par with the statue of liberty or something that must be maintained.

The terrorists, of course, are not going to sign on to these agreements -- they're terrorists!- nor are they going to treat our soldiers any better because of these agreements. That's not the point, the point is to have international standards that we live up to with our allies.

The reward for us is that we will have a more robust involvement by our so-called allies in the war, at all levels. Strategy, troops, weapons, everything. Why should we fight this war alone or not at all? Those are the choices being offered now.

I think this was a good way for him to capitalize on the Clinton/Obama kerfuffle of the past few weeks. The more people disaffected with the Democrats' minority bloodsport, the better.

"If we ever forget that we are One Nation under God, then we will be a Nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Redstate Network Login:
(lost password?)

©2008 Eagle Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Legal, Copyright, and Terms of Service