Monday, March 24, 2008

I Don't Understand the McCain Essay

John McCain's recent op-ed, once again championing the notion of a "league of democracies", leaves me quite confused.

The Senator makes very powerful arguments about problems facing the world that no single nation is capable of solving, especially with regard to climate change. He writes, "The bottom line is that none of us can act as if our only concerns are within our own borders. We cannot define our national interests so narrowly that we fail to see how intimately our fate is bound up with that of the rest of humanity."

If that is the case, whether other governments are democratic, non-democratic, authoritarian or managed pluralist makes not one whit of difference. States will have to work together, won't they?

And again, what is lacking in this piece is why precisely democracies will somehow share common interests to pursue this global agenda but non-democracies will not. The collection of states he identifies--"Today, there is the powerful collective voice of the EU, India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey and Israel, to name just a few of the leading democracies. And there are the struggling young democracies, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon ..." don't appear to me to really be the basis for this change. Certainly, the soaring rhetoric at the end--"It is the democracies of the world that will provide the pillars upon which we can and must build an enduring peace" is not supported by a SINGLE EXAMPLE IN THE TEXT of where this has played itself out. He says "The US and Europe must lead together" but that assumes that 1) the US and Europe can develop and maintain a common position, which in matters of climate change they have not and 2) that the US and Europe still represent the bulk of the global economy, which increasingly they do not.

I can also easily foresee situations where groups of states will come together on agreement on issues that cut across the democracy/non-democracy line--where China, India, Brazil and South Africa might be in greater alignment on a particular issue in opposition to Europe and the United States. Opposition to the Iraq war, Iran sanctions, Kosovo independence are three that immediately come to mind as past examples.

Presidential candidates--Obama, McCain and Clinton--like using this lofty and soaring rhetoric--but we do have to deal with the world as it is.

Was wondering when you were going to post on this, since it appeared last week!

But first interesting test for McCain--he says we need to listen to democratic allies. But Jackson Diehl in today's WaPo basically says ignore European concerns about NATO expansion because they are craven cowards giving in to Russia.

The problem is that guys like McCain--really all Americans, I have to say--go overseas and get fed a line about U.S. leadership. Europeans, Japanese, Indians are really good at this. Then these guys get together and complain about the f*****g Americans and what a-holes they are.
When people use the word "Democracy" in US & EU states they comprehend 2 things: Representative Government and the Rule of Law.

By those 2 criteria, there are only 23 such "democractic" states in the world. And almost all of them are in North America and Western Europe.

India, Israel, South Africa, Korea, Brazil, and Turkey do not qualify; in my opinion.

So what are we talking about here: the League of White (Christians) against the assorted Colored peoples of the world?

Or is India now an honorary member? And Israel?

So is this a League of White Christians, Hindu, and Jews against the Muslims and the Yellow Herds?

I think it would make sense for you guys to be very careful about what you are saying.
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