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John McCain on Foreign Policy

Over the years, John McCain has acquired a reputation as a maverick Republican.  Independents and even some Democrats who loathe George W. Bush’s foreign-policy record seem to believe that McCain would be a significant improvement.  In several GOP primaries earlier this year, most notably those in New Hampshire and Michigan, nearly one third of voters who stated that they oppose the Iraq war cast ballots for McCain.  That seems to defy logic, since the Arizona senator has been the most vocal critic of Bush’s Iraq policy, arguing as far back as late 2003 that he should commit even more troops to the war.

But it is not merely McCain’s views on Iraq policy that mark him as an überhawk.  He has also advocated hardline policies toward Iran, Syria, and North Korea, and has even staked out confrontational positions toward such major powers as China and Russia.  The evidence suggests that a McCain administration would be even more reckless and aggressive than the current one.

McCain did not enter Congress as a militant hawk.  During the 1980’s and early 90’s, his reputation as a Republican foreign-policy maverick was well deserved.  He was one of the few Republicans to criticize Ronald Reagan’s decision to send U.S. troops to Lebanon in 1982.  To McCain, such a murky and dangerous mission that lacked any connection to important U.S. security interests...

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