When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

13 October 2006

TNR: Neo-McCain

Nowhere has McCain's willingness to question his own previous assumptions been more dramatic than on foreign policy. When he first arrived in Washington, he was essentially a realist, arguing that U.S. military power should only be used to protect vital national interests. Since the late '90s, however, he has joined forces with neoconservatives to support a crusade aimed at overthrowing hostile and undemocratic regimes--by force, if necessary--and installing in their place democratic, pro-American governments. Unlike many Republicans, he enthusiastically backed Bill Clinton's intervention in Kosovo. Moreover, he was pushing for Saddam Hussein's forcible overthrow years before September 11--at a time when George W. Bush was still warning against the arrogant use of American might.

And therein lies my McCain dilemma--and, perhaps, yours. If, like me, you believe that the war in Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster, then you are likely disturbed by McCain's early and continuing support for it--indeed, he advocates sending more troops to that strife-torn land--and by his advocacy of an approach to Iran that could lead to another fruitless war. At the same time, he has shown an admirable willingness to reevalute his views when events have proved them wrong. The question, then, comes down to this: Is John McCain capable of changing his mind about a subject very close to his heart--again?

The making of an überhawk: Neo-McCain, by John Judis, The New Republic, October 9, 2006

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