In the last few days, a prominent faction of conservatives has attacked the Obama administration's approach to Iran.These attacks are rooted in the neoconservative theory of democracy promotion: that tough American talk backed by the threat of force - in the case of Iraq, the actual use of force - and intrusive American intervention was the best method to promote democracy in the Middle East.
With only two weeks left until the election, John McCain had another difficult week on the national security front. From Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama, to the Iraqi government's undermining McCain's position on withdrawal of US forces, to the Al Qaeda web-video vote for the Republic nominee for President, the Maverick has had a rough couple of days.
Today, both the Associated Press and Washington Post report that Al-Qaeda-linked websites are celebrating the U.S. financial crisis and looking to the U.S. elections as a way to promote four more years of policies that work to Al-Qaeda’s advantage.
In times of crisis it is essential that a leader have the temperament and judgment to guide America with a steady hand. Sen. McCain’s response in times of crises that has been erratic and reckless. During this campaign, McCain’s reaction to the global financial crisis and the outbreak of war between Russia and Georgia led many to question his judgment and his temperament. McCain’s erratic and hasty responses to past and present international crises raise real doubts about his ability to lead America through a crisis with a steady hand.
John McCain’s positions on critical foreign policy issues such as Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, and Pakistan have all been undermined by the assessments of our intelligence community and members of the military leadership. In a speech this week, General David Petraeus contradicted McCain’s positions on using our Iraq strategy in Afghanistan and on negotiating with our enemies. Additionally, in a damaging critique of the Senator’s bellicosity toward Russia, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz cautioned that U.S. interests demanded a strong effort to ease tensions with a resurgent Russia.
After initially refusing to deal with Syria, Iran and North Korea, the Bush administration has completely reversed course on its “not talking to our enemies” policy. The McCain campaign has suggested that engaging in diplomacy with Syria would be naïve. However, a consensus has emerged among the foreign policy community that the McCain approach is unworkable, and that only Obama’s strategy stands a chance of succeeding.
As the country’s focus has shifted to the economy, 140,000 American troops remain in Iraq and events there are not suspended. While violence has decreased dramatically in the past year and a half, Iraqi politicians have not taken advantage of the situation to come to the political compromises necessary to bring about stability.
Today Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak before the U.N. General Assembly. For years Iran’s leader has brandished hate-filled language that fully deserves the world’s condemnation. But President Bush and his allies, like John McCain, have used this as an excuse to continue a failed approach based on hollow saber rattling that has done nothing to constrain Iran’s nuclear development and its growing regional influence.