Friday, March 28, 2008

McCain On Achievable Military Objectives

David Brooks gushes over McCain's speeches:
Barack Obama says: “John McCain is determined to carry out four more years of George Bush’s failed policies.” Obama is a politician, so it’s normal that he’d choose to repeat the lines that some of his followers want to hear. But before people buy that argument, I’d ask them to read three speeches.
One from 1995, one from 2001, and the latest one? Or would observing McCain repeat himself undermine Brooks' argument that the latest speech is "as personal, nuanced and ambitious a speech as any made by a presidential candidate this year"? (Come on, David. We know you favor Brooks over Obama, but really.)

But I'm not posting this to make fun of Brooks. (Well, not just to make fun of Brooks.) Following up on my last post about McCain's Iraq policy, it was interesting to see Brooks emphasize this:
McCain argued that Lebanese society, as it existed then, could not be stabilized and unified by American troops. He made a series of concrete observations about the facts on the ground. Lebanon was in a state of de facto partition. The Lebanese Army would not soon be strong enough to drive out the Syrians. The American presence would not intimidate the Syrians into negotiating.

“I do not foresee obtainable objectives in Lebanon.” He concluded. “I believe the longer we stay, the more difficult it will be to leave, and I am prepared to accept the consequences of our withdrawal.”
If we're going to hold that up as an example of McCain's foreign policy brilliance it's fair to ask, what makes Iraq different? Under what circumstances will we hear a similar concession on Iraq, instead of the talk of being there for a century or more (after peace miraculously breaks out).
McCain offered to build new pillars for that system — a League of Democracies, a new nuclear nonproliferation regime and a successor to the Kyoto treaty. In stabilizing Asia and the Middle East, he would rely more on democracies like Turkey, India, Israel and Iraq, and less on Mubarak and Musharraf.
This is supposed to reassure me? We're going to stabilize Iraq by relying upon Turkey, Israel and... Iraq? How would that work - would Turkey occupy the Kurdish north, with Israel, um.... And we're going to stamp out support for Al Qaeda in Pakistan by turning the matter over to India? (Does McCain envision armed incursions by India into Pakistani territory to "take out" Al Qaeda camps? While Pakistan sits idly by?)

McCain stated,
“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,” McCain said, reading from prepared texts.
Because democracies are always enlightened and always have common values, goals and shared interests, right? Will McCain be inviting Hamas to join the league if it continues to win elections in the Palestinian territories? Will Hezbollah get to join if it wins a majority of the seats in Lebanon's parliament? Or if that's too much of a reductio ad absurdem, where does Venezuela sign up? Couldn't we reasonably interpret this proposal as McCain's pandering to people who want us to move away from the United Nations, and toward an international organization we can better control?

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