March 18, 2007

The Beautiful American?

Americans have heard for decades about our reputation as travelers abroad -- encapsulated by the monicker, "the ugly American". The term, which actually came from a more complex novel than the name implies, now gets used to describe American foreign policy, especially regarding the war in Iraq. John McCain told the Sunday Telegraph that he wants to change how our allies and enemies abroad view us:

John McCain, formerly the leading Republican presidential contender, has told The Sunday Telegraph that restoring America's sullied reputation abroad will be "a top priority" if he wins the White House.

The Arizona senator, an Iraq war hawk, was talking aboard the revived Straight Talk Express - the vehicle that made his name during the 2000 presidential election and that he hopes will revive his faltering fortunes this time round.

The bus ferried the senator, his aides, and journalists, to a series of public meetings throughout the flat, snow-covered farmland of rural Iowa, where voters will be the first to express their preferences for the party nominations next January.

Of America's poor image abroad, even with long-time allies, Sen McCain acknowledged candidly: "It is a very dispiriting situation and I know we will have to work hard to improve it."

How would McCain go about repairing the damage to the image of America abroad? The conservatives he claims to represent might be surprised at the agenda. He proposes to do the following:

1. Close Guanatamo Bay and transfer all prisoners there to Fort Leavenworth
2. "Truly expedite" the judicial proceedings for detainees.
3. End torture, even though no one has established that anyone has been tortured as a matter of policy.
4. Reaffirm his commitment to climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases along European sensibilities.

McCain seems pretty eager to pander to Europe as part of his presidential campaign. I wonder how many votes he expects to win in London.

One would expect more sense from McCain, especially on Gitmo and greenhouse gas policy. On the latter, McCain voted against the Kyoto pact that the Europeans insist on forcing us to adopt; in fact, the Senate shot it down 95-0 before Clinton could even submit it, led by those Ugly Americans, Chuck Hagel and Robert Byrd. Has he now decided that the US should adopt crippling economic sanctions while allowing India and China to remain outside the restrictions?

Closing Gitmo only means that the US has to open a similar facility elsewhere. Non-uniformed combatants seized while at war against the United States have never gained access to our civil court system, ever. They don't belong in American criminal prisons, and I'd prefer they get warehoused somewhere else than Midwestern America. Having them on an island, where any potential escape means getting eaten by sharks, sounds much better to me. If McCain locks them up here, it will only increase the attempts to grant the terrorists habeas corpus and have them tranferred to courts designed to handle robberies and fraud, not attempts to conduct war against America.

This interview will no doubt play well in Britain. Odd that McCain hasn't made these points a prominent part of his campaign here in the US.


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Comments (14)

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 9:28 AM

John McCain might just as well run as a Democrat; he is that far away from reality, and that far away from the Republican base voters. This guy just is not a very good politician; McCain-Feingold & the gang of fourteen; just plain stupid politics...

A must see & read is now up over at Michelle Malkins site...

Posted by smagar [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 9:34 AM

This article makes me much, much less likely to jump on the Straight Talk Express for a ride to the White House.

I have no, repeat no, interest in doing anything to win back the favor of those countries who are displeased with us. I will not repeat not support any President who insists on supplicating (I hope that's a word--it sure sounds good) to foreign nations. They think they're morally superior to us already; going on a kiss-and-make-up tour will solidify that misimpression.

Any man who goes to France, and kisses their rings...or says things that create implications he not my idea of Presidential material. Any man who seeks out folks abroad to tell that we've done things for which we must be ashamed, is not my idea of Presidential material.

On TV last night, I heard this wonderful story of a remarkable vignette from American history:

The location: the 1908 Olympics in London.
The event: the opening ceremonies parade.

According to tradition, as a nation's contingent of athletes passed by the King's reviewing stand, the nation's flag was supposed to dip, to show respect to the king.

Prior to the American contingent marching by, an Irish-American athlete went up to the American flag-bearer and told him that, if the Stars and Stripes were to dip, he'd be in the hospital that night.

Our flag did not dip as it passed the King's reviewing box. The British were outraged.

When questioned by a hostile press afterward, a US Olympic Committee official did...NOT try to mollify the press and the British. He did not try to curry favor. Instead, he pointed to the Stars and Stripes, and told those reporters that America's flag dipped to no earthly king.

It still doesn't. And neither should its Presidents, or those who aspire to that office.

P.S.: May God bless the Irish, and their sprit, which made us a great nation.

Posted by TomB [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 9:35 AM

I've seen senator John McCain on SNL (I think), singing "Feelings", then telling Barbra Streisand to stick to singing and leave politics to politicians. But it was apparently his high point...

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 9:53 AM

For some reason, I don't spend a lot of time worrying that the militarily-helpless over-taxed over-regulated agnostic socialist grandchildren of German Nazis, or of Italian fascists, or of French colonialists, or of British colonialists, or of Belgian colonialists, etc. don't like me, as a conservative. I don't like most of them very much either. I think THEY need to shape up. Not me. They certainly have nothing to teach Americans about Freedom. They've chosen comfort over Freedom, and they'll end up with neither.

Posted by piscivorous [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 10:12 AM

We could always rebuild Alcatraz!

Posted by David [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 10:16 AM

McCain's stand on immigration and closing gitmo will cost him any chance he has of being nominated.

Additionally, it is suicidal putting al qaida sympathizers in our nations jails. Nothing like putting psychotic jihadists in with psychotic criminals to open their own multi-cultural Muslim Brotherhood. The most worrisome outcome to this foolhardy plan would be a tattoed jihadist starting up his own prison gang.

Posted by msr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 10:24 AM

I despair. I had assumed the purpose of the military commissions was to evaluate the circumstances of capture of the various persons to see if they had, in fact, violated Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention (Treatment of Prisoners of War). Such a violation, along with any other violations, say of the Fourth Convention, on the treatment of civilians, would constitute war crimes. Then all that would be needed is a sturdy masonry wall, and a firing squad. I see no reason that these persons should EVER be released.

These rules exist to legitimately protect real soldiers, fighting for king and/or country, and not for rape and booty, and for the protection of civilians, which is to say, not terrorists fleeing the country after a bombing wearing a hijab.

Without such rules, we will have to assume that all armed persons, in uniform or not, are outside the rules of civilization. Further, we will have to assume that even those not armed may in fact be outside the rules. And when that happens it will mean genocide. Not only will it become thinkable, it will seem compulsory.

Posted by pilsener [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 10:31 AM

McCain continues to astound. The possiblity that he will be the Republican nominee is shrinking and he continues to make statements that encourage an even further shrink.

The comments quoted above sound like he was having a bull session with the press, through out the making the world like us comments, and received friendly chuckles. So he makes it a campaign plank. If the press chuckles, it must be a good idea!

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 10:50 AM

John McCain ... has told The Sunday Telegraph that restoring America's sullied reputation abroad will be "a top priority" if he wins the White House.

Sullied reputation? Geez. McCain is the anti-Reagan of American politics. Just one anecdote should dispel such nonsense:

Recall how Europe and much of the world were having coronaries before and after mass marches protesting American nukes abroad prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reagan's (and Thatcher's and Pope John Paul's) vision backed by American finances and military might enabled freedom loving peoples to survive their oppression knowing they had a superpower in their corner despite the socialists/communists who preferred the status quo. Many of those same people who tagged Reagan as the devil reincarnate now look back fondly because of his backbone and commitment despite his grave error in judgment. Thankfully for them that American didn't listen to them at the time of his most ugly.

We now live in an age of another form of oppression, one perhaps more brutal than even the Stalinists' brand, namely Islamic radicalism. It is the beast that constrains another generation of people and deserves the same vigorous stand by a dedicated superpower, the only one currently committed to the task and the one taking the most risk and expending the most resources. Does an apology for American aggression and our resoluteness seem inappropriate? Is this the ugliness to which McCain refers and deserving of apology to those who would rather see us humbled? And is our handling of heinous terrorists offending McCain's sensibilities such that he would endorse policies that processes these thugs civilly and at a greater peril to our citizen's interests?

I just don't see how this man can possibly be considered a Republican. Maybe he's aiming for Chirac's empty seat. I, of course, kid. McCain deserves respect for his service, but much of his legislative record and his campaign platform to date have been horrendous. His past service gets him only so far, and he reached the end of my tolerance before his most recent skipping of conservative venues and this new priority to, um, repair our reputation.

Imagine, pandering not only to the American Left but to the European Left. That and his own vote will get him, well, a vote. Wait a minute - this is a good thing. Go, John, go! Hello Romney. Or Giuliani. Or Gingrich. Or Hunter. Or Tancredo. Or Thompson...

Posted by reliapundit - the astute blogger [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 12:01 PM

mccain sucks.
a pseudo-maverick.
too conservative for some libs.
way too lib for most conservatives.
said we had to have one hundred thousand ground troops deployed in kosovo to win. WRONG.

too freakin old.
too much CANCER.

Posted by Maetenloch [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 12:23 PM

This is just reason #61 why I'll never support McCain as the Republican nominee.

So far the top five are:
1. Too old
2. Too cranky - personality not suited for POTUS
3. McCain-Feingold (need I say more)
4. He's a senator - mostly talk and has never actually run anything
5. Not really a conservative (barely GOP)

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 1:11 PM

Send them to Leavenworth? Those guys are not common criminals -- they've decided to declare war on us, and should be treated as unlawful war combatants.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 1:47 PM

I decided a year or two ago that McCain has evidently decided that Arab terrorists have equal standing with American soldiers, and therefore, he's more concerned about protecting Arab terrorists and their rights than protecting America.

I have yet to see him do or say anything to make me change my mind. I will never support Mr. McCain because of this tunnel vision, and would certainly never vote for him.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 18, 2007 1:51 PM

I can not believe that anyone believes that Europeans are going to like us better if we shut down Gitmo. They did not like us before Gitmo. They did not like us before Kyoto as far as that is concerned.

And you know what? These people could be shot as soon as they returned to their home countries and no one would give a rat's behind. As soon as America was not the one to blame...these terrorists cease to be of concern to anyone.

As for Kyoto, well if we do this and our economy collapses we will take Europe with us. I wonder if they would like that? But I refuse to give into some bogus list of grievances from people who are in no position to be lecturing anyone else about anything.