McCain's Bizarre Undiscovered Foreign Policy Ideas

| Mon Apr. 28, 2008 8:05 AM PDT

McCain's troubling foreign policy vision on Iraq/Afghanistan/the war on terror is well-known. But he's just as recklessly hawkish when it comes to the rest of the world. For example, he wants to create a League of Democracies that will replace the United Nations. Here's the always insightful Fareed Zakaria:

The approach lacks any strategic framework.... 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?

McCain also wants to throw Russia out of the G8, a potentially world-changing move. He would bring in India and Brazil while excluding China. Again, Zakaria:

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The single most important security problem that the United States faces is securing loose nuclear materials. A terrorist group can pose an existential threat to the global order only by getting hold of such material. We also have an interest in stopping proliferation, particularly by rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea. To achieve both of these core objectives—which would make American safe and the world more secure—we need Russian cooperation. How fulsome is that likely to be if we gratuitously initiate hostilities with Moscow? Dissing dictators might make for a stirring speech, but ordinary Americans will have to live with the complications after the applause dies down.

To reorder the G8 without China would be particularly bizarre. The G8 was created to help coordinate problems of the emerging global economy. Every day these problems multiply—involving trade, pollution, currencies—and are in greater need of coordination. To have a body that attempts to do this but excludes the world's second largest economy is to condemn it to failure and irrelevance. International groups are not cheerleading bodies but exist to help solve pressing global crises. Excluding countries won't make the problems go away.

Zakaria says the "policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers" overturns precedent set by a half dozen presidents, both Democratic and Republican. I'm not sure if McCain is dangerous or just out to lunch. Perhaps both?

Regardless, these ideas are irresponsible. One has to wonder: is John McCain's foreign policy expertise really just an assumption?

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