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April 27, 2008

McCain's New Cold War
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Fareed Zakaria makes the point that while the MSM is continuously obsessed with whether or not Barack Obama will or will not talk to piddling dictators such as Hugo Chavez, Raul Casto or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Who ironically isn't even a real head of state and wields marginal power), John McCain is off laying down the blue print for a new Cold War with Russia and China (You know countries with real nuclear arsenals - not just hypothetical ones).

In his speech McCain proposed that the United States expel Russia from the G8, the group of advanced industrial countries. Moscow was included in this body in the 1990s to recognize and reward it for peacefully ending the cold war on Western terms, dismantling the Soviet empire and withdrawing from large chunks of the old Russian Empire as well. McCain also proposed that the United States should expand the G8 by taking in India and Brazil—but pointedly excluded China from the councils of power.

We have spent months debating Barack Obama's suggestion that he might, under some circumstances, meet with Iranians and Venezuelans. It is a sign of what is wrong with the foreign-policy debate that this idea is treated as a revolution in U.S. policy while McCain's proposal has barely registered. What McCain has announced is momentous—that the United States should adopt a policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers. It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order, a policy that began under Richard Nixon (with Beijing) and continued under Ronald Reagan (with Moscow). It is a policy that would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war. 

Still, I'm sure this won't deter David Broder from continuing to talk about how awesome John McCain's foreign policy is, and how different it is from George Bush's.


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Do people actually still read David Broder? I remember the days when he was well worth reading, but sadly, those days are past.

Ah, the Columbia Attitude lives on, with slight changes. Lee Bollinger's "petty and cruel dictator" is now a "piddling dictator." But President Ahmadinejad is dictator who "isn't even a real head of state and wields marginal power" so there you go, that's why he's piddling but not cruel any more. That's what passes for learned discourse these days.

Regarding the G8, they are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

World economic rankings: United States, Japan, Germany, China, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Brazil and Russia.

World military rankings: United States, Russia, China, India, Germany, France, Japan and Turkey. The UK and Italy rank below Brazil, and Canada ranks below Mexico

World population rankings: China, India, United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Russia

So we see that the G8 includes Canada but fails to include China. Nobody like China but everybody buys their stuff. Other candidates might be India and Brazil.

Now here Ilan gets it right. That stint at Columbia wasn't wasted. McCain wants the same US subservience on the G8 economic team that he seeks with his League of Nations in foreign policy, a new cold war if you will. But of course McCain isn't alone on this, The Dems have their Concert of Democracies pushed by Ann-Marie Slaughter and Anthony Lake, and Trumanism being promoted by Matthew Yglesias.

Apparently this will be one of the major foreign policy topics as we move into a multi-polar world with Asia ascendancy and a dilution of US hegemony.

Matthew Yglesias in the American Prospect and Matt Taibbi in the Rollingstone have both written about McCains dangerous foreign in regards to nuclear weapons and how he wants America to mantain an outdated notion of nuclear supremacy. McCain's views about nuclear weapons are in clear contrast to Obama's who wants to completely abolish them. Who in the MSM is going to support? Obama's position, which is supported by a bi-partian coalition of foreign policy experts or McCain's position, that is supported by neo-conservstive ideologues. I suspect sadly the latter becasue they would say that somehow McCain posses foreign policy knowledge. It also appears that Hillary Clinton has the same position as John McCain in her vow to massively retaliate against Iran, if it attacks Israel. McCain and Hillary Clinton seem to treat nuclear weapons as if they were firecrackers. Maybe they need to see British docudrama Threads, that was made in the eighties, to understand the true destructiveness of nuclear weapons.

I wasn't aware that the the US has the right to unilaterally turf countries out of the G8 - I could see the Germans and French in particular not being very enthusiastic about helping President McCain heavily provoking Russia. Are there fficial rules about this?

It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order, a policy that began under Richard Nixon (with Beijing) and continued under Ronald Reagan (with Moscow). It is a policy that would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war.

Yeah, well unfortunately a lot of the resistance to this bipartisan foreign policy these days is being driven by liberals who want to background the "global order" in order to foreground the "democratic order" or the "liberal order" or what have you, and re-center the locus of legitimacy around a fancy new concert or alliance of democracies. It also seems that a lot of these folks didn't get the bipartisan memo about integrating China into the global order, given that they recently started yapping about embarrassing the Chinese by boycotting the Olympics, or the Olympic opening ceremonies. One would think that holding the Olymipcs in China is a model example of integration.

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