Presidential Debate: McCain Fails In Understanding Foreign Policy

[media id=6449] [media id=6450] (h/t Dave) You know, for allegedly being his strong suit, John McCain's foreign policy posturing during last night'

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You know, for allegedly being his strong suit, John McCain's foreign policy posturing during last night's debate really cannot be counted as anything but an epic fail. He meandered all over the place, confused the Pakistani president's name, and directly contradicted not only his own earlier statements but the Bush Doctrine that he has supported for the last eight years.

I'm not prepared at this time to cut off aid to Pakistan. So I'm not prepared to threaten it, as Senator Obama apparently wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan.

Oh, that would be a LIE, McCain:

10:12 p.m.
McCain accused Obama of wanting to stage "military strikes" inside Pakistan, which is a misleading account of what Obama famously said in 2007: That he would be willing to go after Al Qaeda targets inside that country with or without the approval of the Pakistani authorities.
"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.

Obama focuses on terrorists, McCain thinks about civilian targets. Lovely.

MCCAIN: Now, the new president of Pakistan, Kardari (sic), has got his hands full. And this area on the border has not been governed since the days of Alexander the Great.

*Sigh* First you don't know that Spain is in Europe and now you don't know the President of Pakistan's name? (It's Zardari, by the way, and he's not too happy with the strikes the current administration -- you know, the one you've supported 90% of the time-- has been inflicting on his country)

And we're going to have to help the Pakistanis go into these areas and obtain the allegiance of the people. And it's going to be tough. They've intermarried with al Qaeda and the Taliban. And it's going to be tough. But we have to get the cooperation of the people in those areas.

Kind of like we got the cooperation of the Iraqis? Luckily, Obama wasn't going to take the condescension from McCain without pointing out that McCain has hardly appeared presidential recently:


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And, John, I -- you're absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is. I think this is the right strategy.

Suh-nap!

Transcripts (courtesy of CNN) below:

MCCAIN: Now, on this issue of aiding Pakistan, if you're going to aim a gun at somebody, George Shultz, our great secretary of state, told me once, you'd better be prepared to pull the trigger.

I'm not prepared at this time to cut off aid to Pakistan. So I'm not prepared to threaten it, as Senator Obama apparently wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan.

We've got to get the support of the people of -- of Pakistan. He said that he would launch military strikes into Pakistan.

Now, you don't do that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government.

Now, the new president of Pakistan, Kardari (sic), has got his hands full. And this area on the border has not been governed since the days of Alexander the Great.

I've been to Waziristan. I can see how tough that terrain is. It's ruled by a handful of tribes.

And, yes, Senator Obama calls for more troops, but what he doesn't understand, it's got to be a new strategy, the same strategy that he condemned in Iraq. It's going to have to be employed in Afghanistan.

And we're going to have to help the Pakistanis go into these areas and obtain the allegiance of the people. And it's going to be tough. They've intermarried with al Qaeda and the Taliban. And it's going to be tough. But we have to get the cooperation of the people in those areas.

And the Pakistanis are going to have to understand that that bombing in the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was a signal from the terrorists that they don't want that government to cooperate with us in combating the Taliban and jihadist elements.

So we've got a lot of work to do in Afghanistan. But I'm confident, now that General Petraeus is in the new position of command, that we will employ a strategy which not only means additional troops -- and, by the way, there have been 20,000 additional troops, from 32,000 to 53,000, and there needs to be more.

So it's not just the addition of troops that matters. It's a strategy that will succeed. And Pakistan is a very important element in this. And I know how to work with him. And I guarantee you I would not publicly state that I'm going to attack them.

OBAMA: Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here's what I said.

And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

Now, I think that's the right strategy; I think that's the right policy.

And, John, I -- you're absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is. I think this is the right strategy.

Now, Senator McCain is also right that it's difficult. This is not an easy situation. You've got cross-border attacks against U.S. troops.

And we've got a choice. We could allow our troops to just be on the defensive and absorb those blows again and again and again, if Pakistan is unwilling to cooperate, or we have to start making some decisions.

And the problem, John, with the strategy that's been pursued was that, for 10 years, we coddled Musharraf, we alienated the Pakistani population, because we were anti-democratic. We had a 20th-century mindset that basically said, "Well, you know, he may be a dictator, but he's our dictator."

And as a consequence, we lost legitimacy in Pakistan. We spent $10 billion. And in the meantime, they weren't going after al Qaeda, and they are more powerful now than at any time since we began the war in Afghanistan.

That's going to change when I'm president of the United States.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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