29 September 2008

Has McCain's "Rogue State Rollback" Morphed into a "League of Democracies"?

(an update of a post from 8/28/08)

In the first presidential debate, Senator McCain "said he envisions a "league of democracies" [. . . ] that would help the U.S. impose "significant, meaningful, painful sanctions" on nations such as Iran (Sun-Times). This “league of democracies” appears to be a modification of McCain’s proposal for a “rogue state rollback,” for which we should be grateful.

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 question, "[w]hat 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 article on North Korea published in The Weekly Standard. Although he wavers a bit from asserting that America should deal with North Korea with 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 [of "rogue state rollback"]: "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."

Infinitely better than arming, training, and equipping forces to overthrown other governments, but how, precisely, would "we nations of like values [. . .] modify the behavior of other nations" sans war? What do these "efforts" consist of"? Doesn't he say that sanctions don't work? Certainly McCain's proposal of a "league of democracies" and his ideas about "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 remake belligerent, or unfriendly, nations in the American model?

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