McCain: Democracies, including Israel, share destiny

Posted in Democracy , Other | 19-Mar-08 | Author: Judith Apter Klinghoffer| Source: History News Network

We need to strengthen our transatlantic alliance as the core of a new global compact - a League of Democracies.


Because we all face the same challenges: "radical religious fanatics who uses terror as their weapon of choice . . . turn to autocracy . . . climate change and degradation of our planet." All these challenges are related to the "dependency on "oil and gas exporting autocracies." Focus on democracy, McCain correctly argues "is not idealism. It is the truest form of realism." Diplomatically, he does not mention the disappointment that is the UN. Instead, he seeks to organize an alternative to it.

Just such hard headed realism is evident in his response to the Israeli conundrum. McCain does not argue that the US has a moral obligation to support Israel. He argues that it is in its self interest to do so because Israel represents, as it always has, an vital American partner:

"I really think that we should understand that the US and Israel are partners. Israel is not a client of the United States. . . .

If Hamas/Hizbullah succeeds here, they are going to succeed everywhere, not only in the Middle East, but everywhere. Israel isn't the only enemy . . . .They are dedicated to the extinction of everything that the US, Israel and the West believe and stand for. So America does have an interest in what happens here, far above and beyond our alliance with the State of Israel.

The same is true about Iran:

I think Iran is a threat to the region. . . . (Iranians are) obviously pursuing nuclear weapons . . .. they were also arming and training extremists to send into Iraq, supporting Hizbullah and influencing Syria.

At the end of the day, we can still not afford to have Iran with nuclear weapons.We know they have ambitions that are not just aimed at the State of Israel. . . . (These ambitions include)destabilization of the entire region upon which the United States' national security interests rests.

This is not something he says in Israel for "domestic political" reasons. He says it in his strategic FT article directed at Europe:

Leadership today means something different than it did in the years after the second world war, when Europe and the other democracies were recovering from the devastation of war and the US was the only democratic superpower. 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.

Hence, Israel's success is of vital interest to the US. Israel demise would be a devastating blow to America. McCain understands that and it informs his view of Israeli war strategy and tactics. He wants Israeli survival and while he promised the Jordanians to do "whatever is necessary to assist that process so that we can bring about a peaceful settlement," he does not advocate a straggly which would endangering it:

If you are partners, then you don't dictate what you think the terms of the survival of a nation should be. . . . Someone is going to have to answer me the question of how you are going to negotiate with an organization that is dedicated to your extinction.

McCain also understand that democracies are answerable to their citizens:

I can't give you a good answer as to how you respond to these rocket attacks.

I can tell you that I believe that if rocket attacks came across the border of the United States of America, that the American people would probably demand pretty vigorous actions in response. I think I know my constituency in the state of Arizona, and they would be pretty exercised if rockets came across our southern border.

From Israel he is proceeding to France which is not only in the process of full reintegration into Nato where he has a like minded partner in Sarkozy and, indeed, in Merkel who also visited Jerusalem and declared that "any threat to Israel will be a threat to Germany" and talked about the "disasterous consequences" of a nuclear Iran.

The bottom line is that the rise of Russian autocracy and Islamist terror has reinforced European understanding that the Atlantic Alliance has yet to outlive its usefulness. Indeed, a recent poll reveals that large majorities of both Americans and Europeans favor TransAtlantic ties. Similarly, the rise of China strengthened democratic solidarity in Asia. Democracies must stand together or they will fall one by one.

John McCain get's it. Obama, I am afraid, is too emotionally attached to post Colonial ideology espoused by Black Nationalists, to do the same. That is the reason the first thing McCain wants to organize a summit of world democracies while Obama looks forward to talking with Ahmadinejad and company.