Senator John McCain apparently intends to make Iraq a key point in the coming presidential election. He believes the success in Iraq is persuading Americans the invasion was the right policy and his most probable opponent, Senator Barack Obama, lacks experience in dealing with foreign policy issues. There are several flaws in McCain’s argument concerning his knowledge of foreign policy, particularly regarding the Iraq war. A basic McCain assumption is Iraq is moving toward stability and maintaining US forces for an indefinite period is the right course of action.
Mike McConnell, America’s top intelligence leader, told Congress yesterday the Karzai government of Afghanistan only controls about 30% of the nation with the remainder under the sway of tribal chieftains or the Taliban. Six years– two longer than our involvement in World War II–of relying on military strategies has resulted in what former NATO commander, General James Jones, terms a “failed state.” The United States needs a president who will explore non-military strategies instead of continuing the present flawed military approach. John McCain would perpetuate the current approach and add four more years to the six already expended.
John McCain is a patriotic American who spent years in the military and it is not surprising he views the military as key to victory in Iraq. McCain was furious at the Obama suggestion of meeting, without preconditions, with Iran’s leaders. Senator Obama’s approach makes more sense than that of McCain who is embued with Bush feelings of hate towards Iran. Iran must be involved in any process that will restore stability to Iraq. The Iranian government already has excellent relations with Iraqi leaders. A John McCain in the presidency would hamper efforts to engage a broad spectrum of Muslim nations in an effort to attain conditions for peaceful development of Iraq.
No one doubts the patriotism or bravery of Senator John McCain. He is simply the wrong man at this time in history to assume leadership of America if we are to move toward creating a stable Middle East. We have to turn away from use of large scale American forces and allow Muslim nations to provide any soldiers necessary in establishing stability. We have to engage all factions, without preconditions, in dialogue leading to peace.
A McCain presidency would simply perpetuate American military involvement all over the world. The 21st century must move away from unilaterial use of force and create multi-national military forces whose goal is peace, not war. Barack Obama has greater experience than John McCain in peacemaking. He grasps the importance of engaging angry violent forces in dialogues of conflict resolution. That is a concept which is foreign to the military minded John McCain.