Friday, February 01, 2008

The McCain Conundrum

Matt Welch articulates:
[T]here's a bizarre disconnect in the warm embrace between McCain and the electorate's mavericks. They hate the Iraq war, while he's willing to fight it for another century. The most pro-war presidential candidate in a decade is winning the 2008 GOP nomination thanks to the antiwar vote.

So the voters most hostile to the war are backing a potential commander in chief who makes Bush look gun-shy. More than three years before the Bush administration elucidated the radical doctrine of preemptive war, McCain unveiled a plan during his first run at the presidency called "rogue-state rollback," in which "we politically and materially support indigenous forces within and outside of rogue states" -- including Iraq, North Korea and Serbia -- "to overthrow regimes that threaten our interests and values." And if the "odious regimes" crack down on freedom fighters, the U.S. should respond with force. In that campaign, McCain was the neocons' choice against the more internationally "humble" George Bush.

McCain has advocated threatening North Korea with "extinction," and memorably sung about how we should "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." He agitated for military intervention in Darfur, regrets that we didn't send troops to Rwanda and is fond of rattling sabers in the general direction of Moscow and Beijing. During the U.S. bombing of Kosovo in 1999 -- when McCain showily suspended his presidential campaign because he'd rather lose a campaign than lose a war -- the senator drew media raves for managing to support the intervention while simultaneously slamming the president for not threatening more overwhelming force.

This easily discoverable uber-hawkishness runs in the family. His four-star Navy admiral father helped prosecute the war in Vietnam and delivered famous lectures about the role of U.S. sea power in making the world safe for democracy. His four-star Navy admiral grandfather worshiped at the altar of interventionist extraordinaire Teddy Roosevelt. If the U.S. has an imperialist class, as historian (and informal McCain advisor) Niall Ferguson has advocated, then John McCain sits at its head.

I'm of opinion that we allow this party to simply go the way of the Whigs. And I think Mac is just the man to instigate the purge. Good riddance.