Saturday, July 26, 2008

Even Bush & McCain Allow Obama To Set The Foreign Policy Agenda


In two separate stories, the NY Times seems to indicate that Barack Obama, more than 3 months before the election, is already setting the foreign policy agenda for outgoing President George Bush and for senior Arizona Senator John McCain. Elisabeth Bumiller points out that McCain has been wigging out because Bush seems to be taking foreign policy direction from the man most of the world expects to become the next president. Bush still pays lip service to what has now become McCain's Axis of Evil dogma, "[b]ut now the administration’s agreement to consider a “time horizon” for troop withdrawals from Iraq has moved it, at least in the public perception, in the direction of the policies of Senator Barack Obama. That has thrown Mr. McCain on the political defensive in his opposition to a timed withdrawal, Republicans in the party’s foreign party establishment say."

And yesterday, even poor old McCain was forced to acknowledge what everyone in the world seems to agree: Obama's plan to end the war is the way the war is going to end. "First the Iraqi government gave Senator Barack Obama a boost by seeming to embrace his proposal for a 16-month timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. Now could Senator John McCain, who built his candidacy in large part on his opposition to such a schedule, possibly be following suit?"

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable,” Mr. McCain said Friday in an interview on “The Situation Room” on CNN, all grouchy and grumpy and pissed off. After all, he had just spent the week-- as well as the last two years-- claiming timetables were treason. A few days ago he was trying to convince someone watching him on CBS that his Iraq policy has succeeded. Delusionally and desperately he was insisting "We are winning. They’ll come home with honor. And it won’t be just at a set timetable." He was screeching about Obama being naive and unable to understand "the facts on the ground," insisting a timetable would "turn success into defeat."
Republicans also say the administration’s decision to authorize high-level talks with Iran and North Korea has undercut Mr. McCain’s skepticism about engagement with those countries, leaving the perception that he is more conservative than Mr. Bush on the issue.

Essentially, as the administration has taken a more pragmatic approach to foreign policy, the decision of Mr. McCain to adhere to his more hawkish positions illustrates the continuing influence of neoconservatives on his thinking even as they are losing clout within the administration.

The worst of the unindicted war criminals and Bush Regime extremists, like John Bolton, are trying to spin all this as a good thing for McCain. "[I]f you believe as I do that this administration is in the midst of an intellectual collapse," said a man who should be spending the rest of his life in prison, "it doesn’t hurt McCain. Occasionally in politics it helps to be right.” But wiser men that Bolton think he and the people around him-- people who are also around John McCain actually want to start World War IV. Zbigniew Brzezinski:
"Well, if McCain is president and if his Secretary of State is Joe Lieberman and his Secretary of Defense is [Rudolph] Giuliani, we will be moving towards the World War IV that they have been both favoring and predicting," he said, calling that an "appalling concept" (and adding that by their lights, the Cold War counted as World War III). "So it depends on who are the principal officers. If it's [Richard] Armitage, or if it were to be Brent Scowcroft, I think it would be very different."



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