The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

John McCain Was … Right?

Posted on | August 20, 2021 | Comments Off on John McCain Was … Right?

Everybody who knows me knows I was not a fan of the distant relative I called “Crazy Cousin John.” The whole point of naming this blog “The Other McCain” was to ensure nobody confused me with the Arizona senator, whose advocacy of amnesty for illegal aliens I abhorred.

So it was interesting to see my late kinsman “go viral” this week:

A recently resurfaced video showing late Senator John McCain warning colleagues of an “unqualified” and “dangerous” Antony Blinken, who served as deputy national security advisor under President Barack Obama at the time, specifically blasting Blinken’s desire to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The nearly two-minute clip, which comprises excerpts from December 2014, depicts McCain approaching the Senate floor to oppose Blinken’s nomination as deputy secretary of state.
“Madam President, I rise to discuss my opposition to the pending vote concerning Mr. Anthony ‘Tony’ Blinken, who is not only unqualified, but, in fact, in my view, one of the worst selections of a very bad lot that this president has chosen,” McCain began.
“I hope that many of my colleagues will understand that not often do I come to the floor to oppose a nomination of the president of the United States because I believe that elections have consequences,” he continued.
McCain is also seen slamming Blinken, deeming the then-deputy national security advisor a danger to the United States.
“In this case, this individual has actually been dangerous to America and to the young men and women who are fighting and serving it,” he said.
McCain also noted Blinken’s role in “conceptualizing and furthering” a failed foreign policy.
“U.S. foreign policy is in shambles,” he said. “It’s at best a strategic, and at worst, anti-strategic.”
Quoting Blinken himself, McCain then described his concerns that the then-Obama official would push for a complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, leading to a “replay” of war-scarred Iraq:

“I’ll move on to Afghanistan. Mr. Blinken said, ‘We’ve been very clear, we’ve been consistent. The war will be concluded by the end of 2014. We have a timetable and that timetable will not change.’ This is why I’m so worried about him being in the position that he’s in because if they stick to that timetable, I am telling my colleagues that we will see the replay of Iraq all over again. We must leave a stabilizing force behind of a few thousand troops or we will see again what we saw in Iraq.”

Seven years after McCain’s opposition to Blinken’s nomination, the latter serves as Secretary of State, with many claiming the events from this week proved the necessity of McCain’s warning.

OK, so you may be among those conservatives who don’t like the idea of the U.S. playing global policeman, with our troops deployed hither and yon to prop up weak “allies,” but we’ve still got 36,000 troops in Germany, some 30 years after the end of the Cold War, and I don’t think it would have been too much to leave 3,000 or so in Afghanistan.

Keep in mind what Senator McCain was referencing in Iraq, namely that the U.S. pullout had given rise to ISIS which, in the wake of the 2011 “Arab Spring,” was setting up its caliphate in Syria. However much we may deplore the “imperialism” of the United States trying to impose its will in Mesopotamia and the Levant by force of arms, pragmatism is a better guide than ideological abstractions. The crazy zig-zagging of our foreign policy, from Clinton to Bush to Obama to Trump to Biden, must leave our allies dismayed and our enemies emboldened.



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