I thought I’d toss this Daily Standard piece by Joseph Loconte on McCain’s foreign policy address into the mix. He seems to come down somewhere between Hampton and myselfon what McCain offers: a little uneasy about the idealist hurdles aLeague of Democracies will present to a realist agenda, but ultimatelyreassured by being more sympathetic to McCain than I probably am.
I’dadd that should McCain become president, America will undoubtedly betied down in Iraq for the foreseeable future, meaning that whateverpotential dangers for military adventurism his democracy agendapresented would be moot.
As for the democracy agenda itself, I’m trying to get my hands on a copy of the report mentioned in this press release.It’s an economic analysis which concludes that political liberty, andnot poverty, is the key corollary for terrorism. Significantly, it’sneither highly repressive nor highly democratic states, but those inthe middle band that are most likely to breed terrorism. That suggeststhat McCain’s freedom agenda doesn’t well serve the centrality of theterrorist threat to his national security vision, since the highlyrepressive states it would most likely target are not the highestterrorist risks. I’ll post more when I get a copy of the report, but itseemed worth mentioning.
A final thought is that in retrospect Imight have placed too much emphasis on McCain’s democracy promotion inmy critique of his speech. It’s there, and especially prominent in hisdefinition of success in Iraq. But it’s really his suggestion that wecreate a privileged multi-lateral League of Democracies (to replaceexisting mutli-lateral institutions? Loconte notes that the UN isn’tmentioned once in the speech) that is the biggest policy innovation.Nikolas Gvosdev, like Loconte, wonders how realistic it isto assume that democratic values will trump strategic interests ininternational relations. I wonder whether it’s the right tone to striketo re-varnish our post-Bush global image.