Fareed Zakaria comes out as highly critical of Republican presidential nominee presumptive John McCain’s foreign policy positions:
I write this with sadness because I greatly admire John McCain, a man of intelligence, honor and enormous personal and political courage. I also agree with much of what else he said in that speech in Los Angeles. But in recent years, McCain has turned into a foreign-policy schizophrenic, alternating between neoconservative posturing and realist common sense. His speech reads like it was written by two very different people, each one given an allotment of a few paragraphs on every topic.
The neoconservative vision within the speech is essentially an affirmation of ideology. Not only does it declare war on Russia and China, it places the United States in active opposition to all nondemocracies. It proposes a League of Democracies, which would presumably play the role that the United Nations now does, except that all nondemocracies would be cast outside the pale. The approach lacks any strategic framework. What would be the gain from so alienating two great powers? How would the League of Democracies fight terrorism while excluding countries like Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Singapore? What would be the gain to the average American to lessen our influence with Saudi Arabia, the central banker of oil, in a world in which we are still crucially dependent on that energy source?
I’ve been critical of John McCain on somewhat different grounds: he’s too confrontational and interventionist for my tastes. Unfortunately, this is very much to the liking of certain quarters within the Republican base who would welcome an attack on Iran and think we’re far too lenient towards China. Even more unfortunately, at least in my view, is that both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are equally confrontational and interventionist. You can hardly interpret Sen. Clinton’s bellicose statements about Iran and her stump speech hostility to China or Sen. Obama’s stated willingness to intervene in Dar Fur or invade Pakistan in pursuit of Taliban and Al Qaeda finding safe haven there in any other way.
However, I do think I can answer one of Mr. Zakaria’s questions for him. The reasoning behind a League Democracies is, as best as I can tell, as another possible place for venue shopping when neither the United Nations nor NATO is agreeable.
It looks very much as though come what may we’re going to have a confrontational interventionist president and we and the world had better get used to the idea. So much for mending fences and restoring the U. S.’s lost credibility.