28 August 2008

McCain's "Rogue State Rollback." Sound Familiar?

This is old news (it first circled 'round in April), but it's worth repeating.

During the his campaign in 2000, John McCain endorsed a foreign policy strategy he called "rogue state rollback." What defines "rogue state rollback"? According to ABC News, during a debate in February 2000, the moderator posed the following question:
"What area of American international policy would you change immediately as president?"

To which McCain responded:

"I'd institute a policy that I call 'rogue state rollback,'" said McCain. "I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically- elected governments."

McCain retained this faith in remaking foreign nations, evidenced by his 2003 on North Korea article in The Weekly Standard. Although he wavers a bit from America should deal with North Korea through armed force, he dismisses diplomacy and calls for isolating North Korea (no more carrots, he states), and then, should North Korea fail to cease nuclear development, we move in. He criticizes the Bush administration's assurances that America wouldn't be the first nation to attack North Korea, should an attack be needed, and writes, "[t]his rapid deterioration of our resolve is as reckless as it is disingenuous," adding later, "[i]f we fail to achieve the international cooperation necessary to end this threat, then the countries in the region should know with certainty that while they may risk their own populations, the United States will do whatever it must to guarantee the security of the American people." Now, in his attempt to appeal to war-weary American folk, McCain has redefined "rogue state rollback." On a Hardball College Tour appearance earlier this year,
McCain said: "I wasn't saying that we should go around and declare war," said McCain. "I was saying that we nations of like values and principles and belief in democracy and freedom should make efforts to modify the behavior of other nations."
So, which is it? And how would "we nations of like values ...modify the behavior of other nations"? What doe these "efforts" consist of"?

Certainly McCain's policy on "rogue state rollback" must be addressed in a larger forum; a debate, a detailed interview, but the mainstream media must focus on this point. People deserve to know whether there are any guarantees that McCain won't adopt a foreign policy approach that aims to forcibly remake belligerent, or unfriendly, nations in the American model?

ASIDE: It just came over the BBC's newscast that Vladimir Putin has just accused the USA of prompting Georgia to act up for "domestic, political reasons." That is, we get anxious over a bellicose old enemy, so we vote for a national security man.

Update 9/28: In the first presidential debate, Senator McCain "said he envisions a "league of democracies" -- such as the French, British and Germans -- that would help the U.S. impose "significant, meaningful, painful sanctions"(Sun-Times). In other words, it's the "rogue state rollback" modified in an appeal to voters. Question: is its ultimate aim still to "eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically- elected governments"?

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