John McCain on Foreign Policy
Republican nominee for President; Senior Senator (AZ)
LINDSEY GRAHAM: [In the War on Terror] you need partners. The executive order [banning all travel from predominantly Muslim countries] was a huge misstep, because it included everybody. If it's perceived as declaring war on the faith, we're all going to lose.
MCCAIN: I was especially interested in our interpreters, who literally put their lives on the line to help us in the vital mission of translating between Iraqis and our members of the military. To lump Iraq and Iran in the same category, I think, was a terrible mistake, and I'm glad that Iraq is not going to be part of those countries that are listed.
McCAIN: Sen. Obama said he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Raul Castro without precondition. Here is Ahmadinejad, who is now talking about the extermination of the State of Israel, and we’re going to sit down, without precondition, to give a propaganda platform, and therefore then giving them more credence in the world arena and therefore saying--because you will sit down across the table from them--that will legitimize their illegal behavior. Throughout history, whether it be Ronald Reagan, who wouldn’t sit down with [the USSR] until Gorbachev was ready with glasnost and perestroika, or whether it be Nixon’s trip to China, which was preceded by Henry Kissinger, many times before he went. I’ll sit down with anybody, but there’s got to be pre-conditions.
A: I know of no circumstance. Again, it goes back to what the law says--if there is a treaty that the Congress has ratified, we have chosen to make it the law of the land, and it must be obeyed under the terms that it was ratified.
A: Of course we need to keep our embargo up. Of course we cannot allow economic aid to flow to Cuba. And if I were president of the United States, I would order an investigation of the shoot-down of those brave Cubans who were killed under the orders of Raul and Fidel Castro, and, if necessary, indict them.
McCain said: "Our mission in Somali is over," he said on the Senate floor. "It is time to come home. Our mission is Somali was to feed million starving who needed to be fed. It was not an open-ended commitment. It was not a commission of nation building, not warlord hunting, or any of the other extraneous activities which we seem to have been engaged in. If the President cannot say, 'Here is what we are fighting for in Somalia, that more Americans may perish in service to the goals, and here is why it is worth that price,' then we have no right--no right--to ask Americans to risk their lives in any further misadventures in Somalia.
Ultimately, McCain is an internationalist with a populist touch. A former soldier, he shares with Reagan a skepticism about so-called experts, yet McCain's skepticism is leavened by long operational experience. Unlike Bush the elder, McCain is immunized from the charge of being an East Coast internationalist, a Rockefeller Republican. Unlike Bush the younger, McCain has demonstrated a flare for foreign policy, with a capacity to engage in a thrust-and-parry that runs beyond coached lines.
The strength of McCain is that he speaks with a sense of gravity, [and] with the sense of conservative caution in the face of many threats to America's security.
OBAMA: Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran--guess what--without precondition. This is one of your own advisers.
McCAIN: My friend, Dr. Kissinger, who’s been my friend for 35 years, would be interested to hear this conversation and Senator Obama’s depiction of his -- of his positions on the issue. I’ve known him for 35 years. And I guarantee you he would not -- he would not say that presidential top level.
OBAMA: Nobody’s talking about that.
The most interesting of the details McCain left out of all subsequent interviews was his anecdotal evidence lending support to the controversial domino theory--the notion that once Vietnam fell, the communists would sweep through the rest of southeast Asia. It was one of the main justifications for the war, and especially for staying in it long after success seemed unlikely. In the essay, McCain cited the following: "After we liberate South Vietnam we're going to liberate Cambodia. And after Cambodia we're going to Laos, [then] Thailand, [then] Malaysia, and then Burma. We're going to liberate all east Asia." What was McCain's interpretation? "Some people's favorite game is to refute the 'domino theory.' But the North Vietnamese believe it. This is what Communism is all about--armed struggle to overthrow capitalist countries."
A: If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat to the State of Israel and to other countries in the region. We cannot have a second Holocaust. Let’s just make that very clear. I have proposed a League of Democracies, a group of countries that share common interests, common values, common ideals, they also control a lot of the world’s economic power. We could impose significant meaningful, painful sanctions on the Iranians that I think could have a beneficial effect.
The Iranians have a lousy government, so therefore their economy is lousy, even though they have significant oil revenues. So I am convinced that together with the French, with the British, with the Germans and other countries, we can affect Iranian behavior.
But have no doubt, but have no doubt that the Iranians continue on the path to the acquisition of a nuclear weapon as we speak tonight. And it is a threat not only in this region but around the world
A: It’s very serious. Waziristan, where I have visited, is clearly at least partially under the control of Taliban and Al Qaida military units who are launching attacks into Afghanistan. The Pakistani army has not been successful, and they made this unholy truce with them which has led to attacks into Afghanistan.
Q: So what happens to us if the country is destabilized?
A: It’s a nuclear nation. I am convinced that there are some military people within Pakistan who are more Islamic than the present leadership--radicalized, I mean. What the US should be doing is encourage the reconciliation between Bhutto and Musharraf. I would hope that we would be able to defuse some of the situation. But it would have to be a very, very radical regime to take over for it to be a nuclear threat.
He knew a quagmire when he saw it. "The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be to leave," he said. McCain concluded by saying the American presence would not make a difference, that the same things would continue to happen--more factional violence, more innocent civilians killed--whether the Marines were there or not. "I am calling for an immediate withdrawal," he said. He cast his vote against the resolution, one of 27 Republicans to defy Reagan.
I believe the reason why we won the Cold War is because of our advocacy and our dedication to the principles that all of us are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.
By 2001, some members of Congress began a campaign of condemnation of the Uzbek government. Sen. John McCain traveled to the capital of Tashkent to deliver a public rebuke. "History shows that continued repression of human rights leads to tragedies such as the one that just took place," McCain lectured. Around the same time, I received a letter from McCain & 5 other senators, insisting that America not pay the $23 million we owed the government from our military's use of the Uzbek air base. I replied to the senators, "The bills we have from the Uzbeks are for services rendered in the war on terrorism."
If we took such a good and evil view of the world, we wouldn't be able to count on support from any non-democratic country. My arguments did not prevail.
McCAIN: First of all, we’re not going to have another Cold War with Russia. But have no doubt that Russia’s behavior is certainly outside the norms of behavior that we would expect for nations which are very wealthy, as Russia has become, because of their petro dollars.
Now, long ago, I warned about Vladimir Putin. He has surrounded himself with former KGB apparatchiks. He has gradually repressed liberties, and he has exhibited most aggressive behavior, obviously, in Georgia.
I said before, watch Ukraine. Ukraine, right now, is in the sights of Vladimir Putin, those that want to reassemble the old Soviet Union. We’ve got to show moral support for Georgia. We’ve got to show moral support for Ukraine. We’ve got to advocate for their membership in NATO. We have to make the Russians understand that there are penalties for these this kind of behavior.
A: I looked into Mr. Putin’s eyes, and I saw three letters, a “K,” a “G,” and a “B.” And their aggression in Georgia is not acceptable behavior. I don’t believe we’re going to go back to the Cold War. I am sure that that will not happen. But I do believe that we need to bolster our friends and allies. And that wasn’t just about a problem between Georgia and Russia. It had everything to do with energy.
I think the Russians ought to understand that we will support the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. We also ought to make it very clear that the Russians are in violation of their cease-fire agreement. We want to work with the Russians. But we also have every right to expect the Russians to behave like a country who respects international boundaries and the norms of international behavior.
It’s true, as McCain said, that during the conflict between Georgia and Russia, Obama said, “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war” in his first statement on the conflict. But so did the White House. Press secretary Dana Perino said on Aug. 8, “We urge restraint on all sides--that violence would be curtailed and that direct dialogue could ensue in order to help resolve their differences.” We pointed this out when New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani mischaracterized Obama’s response to the crisis during the GOP convention.
FORBES: I think that our relations with Russia today are another prime example of the lack of a foreign policy of the Clinton-Gore Administration. The way they’re applauding this coup that just took place with the thieving oligarchs of the Kremlin, told Yeltsin get out and we’ll let your family keep their illegal gains, and this way we can move the election up. Have the war fever from Chechnya. The war in Chechnya is simply an election ploy. It’s also, I fear, part of the first step of the old Russian nationalist of reestablishing the old Soviet empire. Chechnya today, perhaps Georgia tomorrow, Armenia after that. It’s a disaster.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The overall funding provided by H.R. 2606 is inadequate. By denying America a decent investment in diplomacy, this bill suggests we should meet threats to our security with our military might alone. That is a dangerous proposition. For if we underfund our diplomacy, we will end up overusing our military.
For example, A generation from now, no one is going to say we did too much to help the nations of the former Soviet Union safeguard their nuclear technology and expertise. If the funding cuts in this bill were to become law, future generations would certainly say we did too little and that we imperiled our future in the process.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)51; N)49
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations should be conditioned on the Russian Government voluntarily accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of democracy.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; never came to a vote.
Libya: Summary & Findings
A bill to impose sanctions on officials of the State Peace and Development Council in Burma, to prohibit the importation of gemstones and hardwoods from Burma, & to promote a coordinated international effort to restore civilian democratic rule to Burma.
(The two Senate versions currently differ in wording). The Saffron Revolution Support Act states that it is U.S. policy to:
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. McCAIN. The world has reacted with horror and revulsion at the Burmese junta's recent brutal crackdown against peaceful demonstrators. In crushing the Saffron Revolution, killing hundreds and jailing thousands, including countless Buddhist monks, the junta has left no doubt about its blatant disregard for basic human decency. We, as Americans, stand on the side of freedom, not fear; of peace, not violence; and of the millions in Burma who aspire to a better life, not those who would keep them isolated and oppressed. Our response must go beyond statements of condemnation, and the time to act is now. This legislation imposes meaningful and effective punitive action against the cruel, thuggish, and illegitimate Burmese government.
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'The U.S. Should Continue to Support and Stand with the Nation of Israel Against her Enemies' The Christian Coalition notes, "You can help make sure that voters have the facts BEFORE they cast their votes. We have surveyed candidates in the most competitive congressional races on the issues that are important to conservatives."
Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.
Congressional Summary: A resolution expressing strong support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to enter into a Membership Action Plan with Georgia and Ukraine:
Legislative Outome: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
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