The Corner

McCain’s Foreign Policy and Democracy Fetish

Pete and Rich make great points.  I differ with Pete in that I don’t think anything the Senator has said recently is at all surprising.  As I argued in this article back in February, drawing on McCain’s prior record and his comprehensive Foreign Affairs essay,

[A] McCain presidency would promise an entirely conventional, center-left, multilateralism. 

If you liked the second Bush term, if you liked Clintonian foreign policy, you will find much to admire in a Commander-in-Chief McCain. There would be the same agonizing over European and Islamic perceptions of America; the same doctrinaire commitment to the alchemy of democracy promotion; and the same fondness for heaping more unaccountable bureaucratic sprawl atop the already counter-productive agencies and multinational institutions that frustrate the United States at every turn.

Aside from my oft-stated objections to the underlying premises of the democracy project (which McCain may be even more entranced by than is the Bush administration if that’s possible), here, fwiw, is my take on the League of Democracies:

His democracy infatuation is such that McCain also plans to create a “League of Democracies.” Evidently, this new multi-lateral behemoth would do what the United Nations is supposed to do, but doesn’t. We are not told what criteria would break a country into the league (Russia and Iran, for example, insist they are democracies), much less how those criteria would be enforced. McCain does take pains, though, to assure us that the league “would not supplant the UN or other international organizations but complement them[.]” Great. This initiative, meanwhile, will merely redouble his promised effort to “institutionaliz[e] our cooperation [with the European Union] on such issues as climate change, foreign assistance, and democracy promotion.” What’s not to love for a conservative?


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