Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A slim hope

Stephen M. Walt, left, and John J. Mearsheimer.

David Seaton's News Links
Why do I think at this point that McCain would be a better foreign policy choice than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? Basically because I think that on foreign policy, deep down, he is in the line of traditional, Eisenhower Republicanism. It is George W. Bush and Cheney that are outside the party traditions, up to their necks in Wilsonism.

Frankly I think McCain wants to actually do what Dubya said he wanted to do in 2000. That would be a G.H.W. Bush "restoration". Baker, Scowcroft, Powell doctrine stuff. Even Rice was supposed to be in that line. The surprise was when, after 9-11 Bush-II threw in his lot with the former Trotskista neocons. Even Yassir Arafat, who was pretty sharp, thought that Dubya was going to be like his father... they say the disappointment broke the old fellow's heart (sniff).

Although unfortunately phrased, Baker correctly defined the basic relationship between the oilmen Republicans and the Jewish community. I don't think that underlying logic has really changed. I suspect (hope?, pray?) that McCain is a closet Mearsheimer-Walt devotee.

The surprise was Dubya, who went against his entire culture and background to avoid antagonizing the people his father thought had cost him his reelection. I don't imagine that McCain has the same oedipal problems with Bush-I that Bush-II does, nor to share in his evangelical, last-days devotion to maximalist Zionism. In short, I'm hoping that he is an old fashioned, country club Republican.

As to McCain's professions of undying support for Israel, as Master Sun said, "war is deception": you don't telegraph your intentions. Keep AIPAC neutral. Talk about a hyperbolic, "hundred years in Iraq". Talk about, "bomb, bomb, bomb: bomb, bomb Iran". Neither a hundred years in Iraq nor bombing Iran appear doable: America is maxed out.

The fact is that if the USA could go to war with Iran it would have already happened; Cheney would have done it long ago if he could have. However, the United States' military is overextended and weary, and the country is on the brink of financial collapse. Setting the Middle East on fire would only push it over the edge.

Getting out of Iraq with some dignity is the number one foreign policy priority of the USA and the only existent plan for getting out of Iraq is the Baker Iraq Study Group's and negotiating with Iran is the key to its success.
That is why the Israelis still hate Baker.

My feeling is that domestic policy (health care, education) should be in the hands of the Democrats and foreign policy should be in the hands of the "realists" and that US foreign policy should be deliberately minimalist, not the sort of Quixotic, Wilsonian brew that Obama is offering up or the Madeline Albright redux that Hillary is flogging.

None of this is at all sure, but frankly I cannot see any other successful alternative. DS


Anonymous said...

What about the McCain-in-flak-jacket shopping jaunt in a Baghdad market a couple of years ago-- to show how calm and safe it was. Hundreds of military guards standing by. Helicopter gunships swarming overhead. The following day gunmen drop by the market in order to murder eleven of the merchants there. Well, I guess the lives of the murdered, the hundreds of soldier guards, the helicopter gunships count for little when compared to the eminence of of the senator from Arizona.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I think in a previous post, which the Spitzer case has made seem prescient, I described Washington as huge brothel. None of these ladies (the politicians) is a girl you'd want to take home to meet your mother. I just have this faint hope that McCain will try to execute the Baker plan and if elected will have enough of "the right stuff", not to immediately cave in to the AIPAC. Could I be wrong? Sure I could, big time.