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McCain needs some new Foreign Policy Advisers

Kicking Russia out of the G-8 is simply, spectacularly, dumb. What genius gave him that advice?  A club of market democracies is great. Form one.  But this crackbrained nostalgia for the Evil Empire though, is the yearning of old men misremembering what they consider to have been the moral simplicities of their youth.

McCain needs to take a good, hard, look at his foreign policy team – the real team of day to day insiders –  while the Obama-Clinton slugfest allows him to fine-tune matters under the media radar. I have a hard time imagining that George Shultz and Henry Kissinger suggested that we kick the Russians in the nuts as an opening move of a McCain administration.

One war at a time John. One war at a time.

13 Responses to “McCain needs some new Foreign Policy Advisers”

  1. Dan tdaxp Says:

    I’m perhaps not a Russophilic, but it is important to note Russia’ consistent policy has been to retard political freedom in and maximize resource extraction from Europe.  Weakening Russian influence is a major foreign policy concern of the European Union, and rightfully a major interest of ours, as well. 

    The transition of Europe from post-Communist state to Central Asian soft dictatorship should be managed well.  I’m not sure how Russian membership in the G-8 plays into that.  

  2. Lexington Green Says:

    We should be creating an Anglosphere/Democratic nations bloc, in parallel with all the rest.

    It would be USA/UK/Canada/OZ + India + Japan + NATO.  Requirement would two successive peaceful changes of government following democratic elections.  It would become THE prestige club to be in.   China would hate it, as would Russia, which would be part of the idea. 

  3. Fabius Maximus Says:

    W. Patrick Lang (Colonel, US Army, retired) has a similar post at Sic Semper Tyrannis — same idea, different example — here:  Why McCain is the Wrong Man.

  4. Larry Says:

    After watching the Senator give his speech to the Los Angles World affairs Council on Cspan, I have only one thing to say, “Senator, tear down that teleprompter”.

  5. zen Says:

    Hi Dan,

    I don’t disagree that Russia has done those things but I disagree with you that a) the EU’s policy interests toward Russia are the same as ours or, for that matter, are particularly attuned to promoting democracy or liberalism in Russia and b) I’m not sure how abruptly kicking Russia out of the G-8 ( Why ? To accomplish what goal?) furthers either American interests or those of Russian liberalism.
    The Russians are not our allies or, in particular, our friends but they do have the capacity to help ease or aggravate some of our problems. As such, we have to treat every matter as a subject for negotiation with carrots and sticks. You don’t begin two new administrations by wacking the other guy with a stick and expecting good things to happen – you save the stick for a well-timed message if it’s needed.

  6. Dan tdaxp Says:


    Not promoting democracy and liberalism in Russia (which may be shooting the moon) — rather, promoting democracy and liberalism in Eastern Europe by absorbing the remaining post-soviet states (West Balkans, Ukraine, Georgia, eventually Moldova and Belarus) into EU and NATO, while allowing Russia to transition herself into a Central Asian state (a "big kazakhstan") which can attempt authoritarian development without risking the gains throughout EUrope.  

  7. Galrahn Says:

    My Thoughts.The 2006 QDR lists "Shaping the Choices of Countries at Strategic Crossroads" as one of its 4 strategic priorities, and it goes on to say "The United States will attempt to shape these choices in ways that foster cooperation and mutual security interests." While the QDR goes on to list a number of countries, it spotlights the choices of major and emerging powers including India, Russia and China as key factors in determining the international security environment of the 21st century. I think there is wisdom in this line of thought, but it leads to a question.Does anyone think our political leaders have any idea how to manage shaping the choices of emerging regional powers? I do not see the vision necessary to manage these types of foreign policy challenges in the crop at the top. Too much rhetoric, an absence of substance.

  8. Eddie Says:

    McCain has taken on neo-con advisers over the past few years (why? perhaps he felt isolated b/c of his continuing support for the Iraq war, notice how he drifted from a close friendship with Chuck Hagel (the realist) to Joe Lieberman (neocon) so this should serve as no surprise to those of us familiar with the delusions of Paul Wolfovitz, Richard Perle, etc.  Not to slam McCain but he seems to be buying most of their ideas hook line and sinker, aside from his experience-based improvements on their agenda (working more closely with allies instead of standing alone) and meeting his personal honor code (closing Gitmo, banning torture, talking loudly about the plight of those in Sudan, North Korea, Burma).

    He’ll be far more hawkish (based on his own statements over the past year and even before that) than Bush was on Russia, China and Iran.  Is this a good thing?

    He’ll be deeply moralistic where his honor is offended.

    He’ll be ready and willing to use military force early and often. If that means more than one war at a time, no problem to him.  He’s ready to use force against Iran even as we struggle in Iraq & Afghanistan.

    The odds of him changing his advisers are slim to none. He is clearly not comfortable with those who oppose his view on Iraq (look at the decaying relationship with Hagel as a clear example of that) and that seems to inform his choice of advisers more than anything else.  Those who share his views on Iraq tend to be neo-cons and the like.

    Let him though. The G-8 is a big fraud anyway.  What has it exactly done over the last decade?

  9. Dan tdaxp Says:

    If "neo-con" is to be contrasted with "realist," how does it relate to "liberal" or "idealist," as well as "constructivist," perspectives on International Relations?  

  10. zen Says:

    "allowing Russia to transition herself into a Central Asian state (a "big kazakhstan") "

    Russia embarking upon a course of Neo-Eurasianism, by default or from explicit ideology isn’t in our long term interests. "The Big Kazakhstan"has too much in the way of nuclear stockpiles to safely descend from New Core to Seam to Gap.

    The G-8 is a place to do geopolitical/geoconomic business, handle spillover costs and do a photo op. Russia did not have the GDP to qualify for G-7 membership but at the time, under Yeltsin, many tens of billions in hard currency were pouring from Russian coffers and into the Western banking system into accounts controlled by mafiya, oligarchs, state controlled corporations, the secret police, political parties etc. etc. Western leaders could hardly tell Yeltsin "no", particularly when the Russian state seemed to becoming dangerously fragile. Now that they are in, the umbrage that would be taken at being kicked out would rise to heights of bizarre paranoia.
    Which gets us what in return ? Anything?

  11. Eddie Says:

     There is truly little difference IMHO between the realists, the liberal internationalists and the constructivists compared to the revolutionary beliefs of the neo-cons.Look at McCain’s policies and ideas before the Iraq War (or really perhaps before he became a media darling in the 90’s by bashing Clinton from the left & right at the same time depending on Clinton and co.’s gaffe of the moment in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia & Kosovo). I don’t mean to use neo-con as a dirty word or a slander of McCain, but certainly his behavior, viewpoints and (common sense some would say) have changed significantly since his joining of the neo-con ranks.  I think he was isolated by a lot of his former friends and allies b/c he stuck by the war (and especially the surge) and found common cause and ideas with the neocon element like Kagan and Lieberman. An understandable turn of events given his brave and principled stance on the surge.

  12. Eddie Says:

    Given Russia’s demographics, societal decay and continued endemic corruption.. how will it move towards the Gap over time? Or at least the Seam…A fascinating detour or alternate route for this would be the potential for that apartheid state you linked to previously…

  13. Dan tdaxp Says:


    Like Saudi Arabia or Iran, Russia’s wealth is built off of narrow resource extraction.  Russia serves primarily as a break to the integrative forces of China and Europe.  The weaker Russia is, the stronger Europe and China can become which, in turn, means the stronger Globalizatoin can become.

    Swapping Russia out of the G-8 (where her economic might) helps turn the organization into an organization of Old and New Core pillars, rather than resource-exporters. 

    I’m not endorsing the idea, but I don’t see it as bad as it struck you.


    Could you back up, and explain how you are defining "realist" and "neo-con"?

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