With McCain’s pass­ing, are in­ter­ven­tion­ists lead­er­less?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - VIEWS FROM BOTH SIDES - Pat Buchanan He writes for Cre­ators Syn­di­cate.

“McCain’s Death Leaves Void” ran The Wall Street Jour­nal head­line over a front-page story that be­gan:

“The death of John McCain will leave Congress with­out per­haps its loud­est voice in sup­port of the ro­bust in­ter­na­tion­al­ism that has de­fined the coun­try’s se­cu­rity re­la­tions since World War II.”

Cer­tainly, the pass­ing of the sen­a­tor whose life story will dom­i­nate the news un­til he is buried at his alma mater, the Naval Academy, on Sun­day, leaves Amer­ica’s in­ter­ven­tion­ists with­out their great­est cham­pion.

No one around has the pres­tige or me­dia fol­low­ing of McCain.

And the cause he cham­pi­oned, com­pul­sive in­ter­ven­tion in for­eign quar­rels to face down dic­ta­tors and bring democrats to power, ap­pears to be a cause whose time has passed.

When 9/11 oc­curred, Amer­ica was united in crush­ing the al-Qaida ter­ror­ists who per­pe­trated the atroc­i­ties. John McCain then backed Pres­i­dent Bush’s de­ci­sion to in­vade Iraq in 2003, which had no role in the at­tacks.

He urged in­ter­ven­tion. But Bush, his ap­proval rat­ing scrap­ing bot­tom, had had enough of the neo­con cru­sades for democ­racy.

McCain’s con­tempt for Vladimir Putin was un­con­strained. When crowds gath­ered in Maidan Square in Kiev to over­throw an elected pro-Rus­sian pres­i­dent, McCain was there, cheer­ing them on.

He sup­ported send­ing arms to the Ukrainian army to fight pro-Rus­sian rebels in the Don­bass.

John McCain was a war hawk, and proud of it. But by 2006, the wars he had cham­pi­oned had cost the Repub­li­can Party both houses of Congress.

In 2008, when he was on the bal­lot, those wars helped cost him the pres­i­dency.

By 2016, the Repub­li­can ma­jor­ity would turn its back on McCain and his pro­tege, Sen. Lindsey Gra­ham, and nom­i­nate Don­ald Trump, who said he would seek to get along with Rus­sia and ex­tri­cate Amer­ica from the wars into which McCain had helped plunge the coun­try.

Yet, while in­ter­ven­tion­ism now has no great cham­pion and has proven un­able to rally an Amer­i­can ma­jor­ity, it re­tains a resid­ual mo­men­tum. This com­pul­sion is push­ing us to con­tinue back­ing the Saudi war in Ye­men and to seek regime change in Iran.

While the for­eign pol­icy that won the Cold War, con­tain­ment, was ar­tic­u­lated by Ge­orge Ken­nan and pur­sued by pres­i­dents from Tru­man to Bush I, no grand strat­egy for the post-Cold War era has ever been em­braced by a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans.

Bush I’s “New World Or­der” was re­jected by Ross Perot’s eco­nomic pa­tri­ots and Bill Clin­ton’s baby boomers who wanted to spend Amer­ica’s peace div­i­dend from our Cold War vic­tory on Amer­ica’s home­front.

To­day we are bomb­ing and fight­ing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ye­men, partly John McCain’s legacy. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo has sent a vir­tual ul­ti­ma­tum to Iran.

We are chal­leng­ing Bei­jing in its claimed ter­ri­to­rial waters of the South China Sea. From South Korea to Es­to­nia, we are com­mit­ted by solemn treaty to go to war if any one of dozens of na­tions is at­tacked.

With all these war guar­an­tees, the odds are ex­cel­lent that one day we are go­ing to be dragged in yet an­other war that the Amer­i­can peo­ple will sour upon soon af­ter it be­gins.

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