McCain shows his promiscuous interventionism
(The News Tribune) -- by George Will --
WASHINGTON — Elevating the fallacy of the false alternative to a foreign policy, John McCain and a few others believe Republicans who oppose U.S. intervention in Libya’s civil war – and who think a decade of warfare in Afghanistan is enough – are isolationists.
This is less a thought than a flight from thinking, which involves making sensible distinctions.
Last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” McCain warned that the GOP has always had “an isolation strain.” He calls it “the Pat Buchanan wing,” which he contrasts with “the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people all over the world.” Rather a lot turns on the meaning of “stand up for.”
Between wishing success to people fighting for freedom, and sending in the Marines (or the drones), there is as much middle ground for temperate people as there is between Buchanan, a sort of come-home-America conservative, and McCain, a promiscuous interventionist.
When asked his response to those, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who say there was no vital U.S. interest at stake when the Libya intervention began, McCain said: “Our interests are our values” and “our values are that we don’t want people needlessly slaughtered by the thousands,” as Moammar Gadhafi seemed to threaten to do, “if we can prevent such activity.”
Under the McCain Doctrine, America’s military would have just begun to fight, and would never stop. Americans are, however, war weary – which is a good thing: What kind of people would they be if they were not?
U.S. involvement in World War II lasted 1,346 days. U.S. fighting in Afghanistan reached that milestone six years ago (June 14, 2005). America is fighting there, in Iraq, in western Pakistan, in Yemen and in Libya.
Where next? Under the McCain Doctrine, wherever U.S. “values” are affronted – and those who demur from this global crusade are isolationists, akin to those who, 70 years ago, thought broad oceans and placid neighbors guaranteed America’s security from Hitler and Japan...
Regarding Libya, McCain on Sunday said, “I wonder what Ronald Reagan would be saying today.” Wondering is speculation; we know this:
When a terrorist attack that killed 241 Marines and other troops taught Reagan the folly of deploying them at a Beirut airport with a vague mission and dangerous rules of engagement, he was strong enough to reverse this intervention in a civil war.
Would that he had heeded a freshman congressman from Arizona who opposed the House resolution endorsing the intervention. But, then, the McCain of 1983 was, by the standards of the McCain of 2011, an isolationist. George Will is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist...MORE...LINK