Earlier this week, I described John McCain's "League of Democracies" as an attempt to create a world order based on moral clarity--to sideline the UN and divide the world into "good" and "bad" states, much as President Bush's coalition of the willing did. It seemed McCain was simply dressing those fundamentals up in banal Cold War rhetoric about alliances and internationalism.
Now, here's Charles Krauthammer on the proposal:
"What I like about it, it's got a hidden agenda," Krauthammer said March 27 on Fox News. "It looks as if it's all about listening and joining with allies, all the kind of stuff you'd hear a John Kerry say, except the idea here, which McCain can't say but I can, is to essentially kill the U.N."
And Brent Scowcroft, who isn't sounding happy about his place in the McCain campaign these days:
Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to former Presidents Ford and Bush, wrote in the journal the National Interest last year that it was a "bad idea" to create a new bloc in global affairs that would divide the world "between the good and the evil."
While McCain is now dialing back the concept under pressure--an example of his tendency to make rash, moralizing decisions only to walk them back, publicly, when they prove foolish--it's a telling sign that endorsing the "League" was his first impulse.
No matter how much he's convinced us that he's a "maverick" on taxes and the environment, this shows that his instincts on foreign policy are fundamentally Manichaean; and--as U.S. vs. Them explains--that they are fundamentally conservative.
We ought to remember that George W. Bush also called for a renewed emphasis on alliances and posed as a Scowcroft / Powell realist--who coincidentally wanted a Reaganesque "Forward Strategy for Freedom"--in the run up to the 2000 election, only to pivot once he got into office.
And we shouldn't be fooled so easily this time around.