Crises, real and imagined

McCain's hot air
By EDITORIAL  |  June 13, 2012


Considered in totality, President Barack Obama's foreign policy has been remarkably strong, surprisingly aggressive, and — more often than not — successful.

There are certainly aspects that trouble progressives: the heavy reliance on drone attacks, for example.

It is a measure of how dangerously unstable the planet has become that the basket of issues so perversely complicated that they defy even a hint of resolution seems to grow continuously: a Palestinian state, Iran's nuclear ambitions, North Korea's ongoing gangsterism, Syria's civil war, Mexico's drug-trafficking troubles.

Still, America's relations with the rest of the world are in a far better position than they were in the bad old days of George W. Bush. The US has wound down its presence in Iraq, is getting ready to do the same in Afghanistan, and has taken significant steps, along with Russia, to scale back its arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The killing of Osama bin Laden and the ongoing decimation of Al Qaeda's command structure speak to Obama's tenacity and resolve.

All of this drives the Republicans crazy. Obama, in very simple terms, has succeeded where the bully boys of the Bush administration failed.

Now, into the breech steps Republican senator John McCain, the failed presidential candidate whom history will remember as the man who inflicted Sarah Palin on the national political scene.

McCain wants the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate leaks that brought to the public's attention the news that the US was most likely involved in the cyber-attacks aimed at slowing down Iran's efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

It must kill McCain that those attacks were successful. If they had occurred when he or some other Republican was president, McCain would be boasting that they were solid evidence of the GOP's superior grasp of foreign policy.

With every passing day, McCain is sounding more and more like a bitter old fool. He wanted to keep the wars in Iraq going. He resists pulling out of Afghanistan. He favors a direct attack on Iran. And now he's agitating to get the United States involved in the admittedly horrible bloodbath that is Syria.

McCain won't rest until America has invaded much of the Muslim world. Until that day comes, presumably under President Mitt Romney, McCain is determined to discredit Obama's foreign-policy success.

It is not enough for McCain that the Republicans have reduced the federal government to virtual impotence during the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. Now he wants to neuter the Obama White House so that it is incapable of conducting foreign policy.

McCain's conduct calls to mind the words of Samuel Johnson, who famously said that patriotism is too often the last refuge of scoundrels.


While McCain is busy trying to manufacture a phony crisis in Washington, a real and terrible economic threat is developing in Europe.

The Euro zone is in the early stages of a meltdown. Greece is scheduled to hold national elections on June 17 that may well result in its eventual withdrawal from the common economic currency that unites most of industrialized Europe.

If that were to happen, Europe could be plunged into an economic crisis the likes of which it has not seen since end of World War II.

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Related: The debt crisis is only on hold, Crabby old men, Education for the future, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , John McCain, Obama, National Politics,  More more >
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