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September 22, 2008

Les Gelb: McCain's Approach "Doesn’t fit reality anymore"
Posted by Adam Blickstein

Today, the National Security Network held a conference call previewing Friday's Presidential debate on foreign policy. Experts Les Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chairman of NSN's Advisory Board, and NSN President Rand Beers discussed what to expect from the debate and other facets of foreign policy in the political forum. Audio can be found here, and below are some quotes from the call:

“Foreign policy, in my judgment, has not been more important in a presidential election than it is this time around. You look at the agenda out there. The trade talks have stalled, we gotta start doing something about global warming cause Kyoto was a failure. We have to do something about energy conservation and energy alternative at an international level. We are in two wars. We are threatening to be in some more wars. The international agenda has never been more important, more complex, more worrisome. ..I’ve known McCain for almost 3 decades. The McCain in this election is very different from the John McCain before. John McCain before was a traditional, pragmatic conservative. A guy who’s politics and views I found very appealing. This John McCain has dropped almost all pretense of diplomatic power, economic power and talks almost exclusively in terms of military threats and going to war. And that just doesn’t fit reality anymore. It just doesn’t.”

“The symbol of how far we have deteriorated on this is McCain’s choice of Palin as his running mate. I don’t say this as elitism, I say it as Americanism because you need both a president and vice president with some demonstrated knowledge and experience of the world you can’t just step out of the blue with it. And even though I find Palin very interesting politicians and a very appealing politician her complete lack of knowledge about the world at this critical moment really disturbs me. And again, that’s not elitism, that’s Americanism.
-Les Gelb

“Sen. McCain oddly enough may be under more pressure than Sen. Obama in that he as the quote more experienced person has to perform at an exceptionally high level with really a flawless performance in order to demonstrate his clear superiority whereas Sen. Obama has to prove that he is knowledgeable, that has good judgment, and that he can express himself clearly to the America people about his plans and intentions, but by no means by the standard that I think Sen. McCain will have to be judged by.”

“There have been a number of suggestions and characterizations that Sen. McCain is basically a continuation of the Bush administration in the national security area. I think that has some merit in terms of the way to think about Sen. McCain. But it is also interesting to remember that in two important cases: with respect to Iran and the Administration’s response to the Georgia crisis…In both of these instances I think McCain comes across as being more hawkish, as talking tough in those situations.”
-Rand Beers


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