"We have no credibility. We do have influence, but when you don't use that influence, then you do not have that influence.” --- John McCain in an interview on CNN
Let’s begin by saying that John McCain is not wrong when he says the US has no credibility in its Mideast dealings. He is not wrong. However, he is being incredibly hypocritical, as he has supported the vast majority of this administration’s movements in the Mideast over the last few years. In fact, on the rare occasions he has disagreed with President Obama’s decisions, they have been disagreements over “degrees” not actions. For example, agrees with aid to the Syrian rebels, but believes that we should be giving far more aid than we have offered.
His recent interview on CNN came about over questions on the administration’s Egypt policy. Here Senator McCain displays in full effect his ability to move back and forth between two very different positions.
Less than a month ago Senator McCain voted for the continued financial support of Egypt, even though the nation had just endured a military coup of a suitably elected government. (Mind you, that elected government is the complete antithesis to a free democratic society… but they were legally elected.) Just two weeks ago, McCain and many of his like-minded associates voted against Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) amendment to discontinue all aid to Egypt. In fact, 83 Senators voted to table the amendment and only 13 voted alongside Senator Paul. In a stunning reversal, McCain (and several of his Senate minions) has changed his mind in record time.
Senator Paul had strong words just this past week for those Senators who voted against his amendment. “This is something that those who voted in Congress are going to have to live with… The question is: How does their conscience feel now as they see photographs of tanks rolling over Egyptian civilians? This mindset that if you don’t give people money and weapons, then you’re not engaged is bizarre, I want to engage with the world, I just don’t want to be engaged in battle… When you’re protesting in the streets and you’re run over by an American tank, you’re not going to be appreciative of American engagement.” Paul concluded by saying, “Congress is way out of touch on this issue… These people who believe in projecting American power, really believe in projecting American weakness. They don’t want us to respond to words with actions or obey our own laws.”
Senator Paul’s outrage and anger were palpable. Our leaders are decrying the violence in the Mideast, even as we waft back and forth between support for tyrannical regimes and support for rebel groups allied with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. When will our leaders realize that the Mideast is a no-win situation? We can either side with despotic regimes who rule with an iron fist, or we can support rebel groups who are run by Islamofascist terrorists. The best option is to pull our money, weapons and people out of the region until the strife ends.
Senator McCain has voiced support for military action in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iran. He has supported drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and anywhere else in the Middle East that they might prove “necessary.” In all of these cases the Obama administration has agreed with Senator McCain. If anyone has done anything to lead to our loss of credibility in the Mideast, it is John McCain. He and President Obama (along with Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham, and others) have led a dueling campaign of destruction when it comes to our “credibility” in dealing with the Mideast.
Perhaps it’s time for these foreign policy has-beens (Obama, McCain, et al) to pass the torch on to some politicians who still have some credibility.