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September 26, 2008

McCain and the Allies He Snubbed
Posted by Patrick Barry

John McCain has said that he would use a league of democracies to build world consensus around dealing with Iran.  But McCain has a long history of alienating our allies and treating them with utter disdain:

McCain attacked our allies as “vacuous and posturing” for opposing war in Iraq. “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that "Iraq is the test" of both the U.N. and NATO. He charged that the alliance is failing the test because of the "flawed calculations" and "vacuous posturing" of Germany and France. McCain and Rumsfeld both said that recent French and German foot-dragging over even discussing the possible deployment of NATO assets, such as Patriot anti-missile batteries, to Turkey also threatened to damage the alliance.” [Washington Post, 2/9/03]

John McCain engaged in the anti-French bashing of the far right because they opposed the invasion of the war.
"The Lord said the poor will always be with us, and the French will be with us, too," said McCain, a member of the Armed Services Committee. "This is part of a continuing French practice of throwing sand in the gears of the Atlantic alliance. But now they're playing a dangerous game, and coming close to rendering themselves irrelevant." A few days later he even said that, “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) likened France to an aging '40s starlet "still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."  [NY Times, 2/14/03. NY Daily News, 2/17/03]

McCain attacked Germany for opposing the war – saying they lacked “political courage.” McCain said that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder “looks little like the ally that anchored our presence in Europe throughout the Cold War…A German Rip Van Winkle from the 1960s would not understand the lack of political courage and cooperation with its allies on the question of Iraq exhibited in Berlin today.” [Washington Times, 2/14/03]

McCain is very unpopular around the world, and surveys have shown that the majority of the international community is rooting for him to lose.  A recent BBC study found that of all the countries polled, none hope for a McCain presidency.  In fact, in the case of a McCain administration, 36% of those polled thought that American relations with the world would stay the same, while a full 16% thought relations would further deteriorate. 

John McCain refused to say whether he would invite Spain’s Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to the White House. The interview - conducted in English and translated into Spanish – was with the Florida affiliate of Spain’s Union Radio. In the interview McCain appeared to have no idea who Prime Minister Zapatero was, apparently assuming he was a Latin American leader who might or might not be a friend of the United States. This confusion occurred despite the reporter explicitly saying “I’m talking about Spain.” Ironically, just before McCain was asked about Prime Minister Zapatero, he asserted “I know the issues, I know the leaders.” McCain’s confusion puts that statement in serious doubt. Spain is an important NATO ally, plays an extremely influential role in Latin America, was brutally attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists in 2004, has nearly 1000 troops in Afghanistan, has lost more than 20 soldiers in Afghanistan, and has the eighth largest economy in the world. Senator McCain has campaigned for President on his foreign policy experience. Such confusion over the leader of a very important ally raises serious doubts about John McCain’s foreign policy competence.  [Huffington Post, 9/18/08. Interview with Condoleezza Rice, 6/01/07. Radio Caracol Miami, 9/17/08]


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