Having long secured the GOP nomination, John McCain has had plenty of opportunity for tacking back to the centre. It was to be expected that he chose to do precisely that in a recent foreign policy speech. In doing so, he has however angered the conservative wing of his party, as a Cliff Kincaid piece on GOPUSA demonstrates:
[I]f the liberals get beyond their differences with McCain on Iraq, they will not only vote for him but promote his agenda as president. Then, as Rush Limbaugh notes, it may eventually be possible to change the name of the United States of America: "We'll call ourselves New Europe." In the process, true conservatism as a political force will be finished in the U.S. The piece, called 'McCain's Incoherent World Order' reveals yet another split in the Republican party: between sovereignists, or as Steve Clemons disparagingly calls them, 'pugnacious nationalists', and neoconservatives. McCain's politics are a choice for neoconservatism. Although McCain downplayed it in his speech, he still seems eager to go on foreign adventures.
The tragedy of this approach is that it comes from a man who served his country in uniform and risked his life on behalf of the U.S. McCain would have been a natural choice to lead a campaign for restoration of American sovereignty in foreign affairs. He could have been "The American President Americans have been waiting for."
The lesson McCain has drawn from the Bush administration is not that the neoconservative agenda of aggressive democracy promotion is wrong, but rather that the unilateral manner in which this was executed -- through Bush' 'coalition of the willing' and defiance of international law such as the Geneva conventions -- has been both unhelpful and wrong. Principles and pragmatism tend to coincide in McCain's politics. Partially because of that, though, it is difficult to see how he could bridge the gap with liberals with regard to Iraq.
Related posts in the Atlantic Review:
• Neocons and Pragmatists Compete over Influence on McCain
• 40th Anniversary of Senator Fulbright's "Arrogance of Power" Speech
The Republican presidential candidates demonstrated some suspicion and negativity towards Europe, concludes the Atlantic Community:
Huckabee claims Europe is (unintentionally) to blame for some of the US' biggest terror threats, Romney is using an anti-European stance to further his campaign, Giuliani is turning away from Europe to focus on Asia, while McCain, appears committed to revitalizing transatlantic relations.
What do you think? Is that a fair assessment of the candidates' statement on Europe? And if yes, is their suspicion and negativity towards Europe justified?
The good news is certainly that John McCain is the frontrunner. For Europe he would be better than any other Republican candidate.
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