« Dan Hamilton predicts victory for Huckabee or Romney in Iowa but cannot predict the outcome of the Democrats' contest | Main | Barack Obama's worldview »


Tony Makara

While I have great respect for John McCain as a person, I feel that his politics are still very much rooted in the 20th century. On the subject of China we need to take and economic stance rather than a military one, China need an export market to support their modernization process, make any trade dependent on a less bellicose China. Russia should be a member of G-8, Russia is a leading player in the world and should not be forced back into isolationism. On the subject of Israel. The United States should support Israel's right to exist but that has to be qualified by treating the Arab states on an equal basis.

On Iran, John McCain is prepared to follow a foolhardy interventionist policy, he has not learnt the lessons of Iraq. On Iraq, the way forward to to break the country up and to withdraw troops. The surge is only a stop-gap measure and cannot be continued indefinitely.

Oberon Houston

The US has prospered historically when it didn't have a pre-emptive interventionist policy. Its when they have gone on the offensive against a poorly defined objective that things have unraveled. The war of 1812, when they struck at Canada whilst Britain was on its knees alone against Napoleon was a mess. Iraq is a mess, and don't even get started on Latin America, this lot should be its friends and supporters. But from Cuba to Venezuela to Grenada, Bolivia, with the exception of Chile things are really not that great. Vietnam goes with out any more explanation. And if you really want to see what happens when you try to force a population to your position, read about the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, a nightmare.

When the US have triumphed, its been against clear objectives and only when really necessary. Entering the WWI at the correct time, and in WWII the US were attacked by an evil axis and again triumphed whilst refusing, rightly, to engage early in a European conflict. During the cold war the more passive mexican stand-off policy again triumphed. No, if one sides with the policy of learning the lessons of history, then you should be alarmed by McCain's views, because he certainly does not. The above reads like another nightmare in the making.

Umbrella man

I have now read McCain's full essay and am very disappointed that he couldn't mention Britain in any serious way. The nation Bush said was America's greatest ally gets less of a mention than Australia.

Moral minority

The problem for the GOP is that there is no obvious frontrunner. McCain is too old and tainted by his previous Presidential nomination defeats.

Huckabee's gubernatorial record was awful. His tax raising earned him a D rating from the Cato Institute.

Romney is a flip-flopping liberal who is trying to obliterate his "big government" Rockefeller Republican record.

Thompson's campaign never got off the ground due to the disastrous role of his ambitious but mediocre "trophy wife".

Guiliani's marital "adventures" would harm his chances in the bible belt.

Obama would thrash all the GOP candidates. The Republicans must hope that the Dems are stupid enough to pick "Billary".


A "nightmare in the making" LOL. Which current American candidate will allow you to sleep sweet?


I'd noticed that too Umbrella man. As you'll see from the other essays that I'll highlight over the next days, few of the other candidates are any better.


I think its the audience he's playing to. When Brown and Cameron speak of efforts and plans fighting terror, how much is the US mentioned?


Often Steevo (2.01pm). America is much more important to world security than Britain so I wouldn't expect the UK to be mentioned by US politicians as prominently as the other way round but an acknowledgment of our strategically important partnership and shared interests would be appropriate.


Well I understand Tim I'm just not sure what appropriate means in all this. I remember Cameron's world stage discussion and plans with Merkel and the US was not mentioned at all, only inferred to as a negative if I'm not mistaken. A recent statement praising Brit efforts fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by Brown was void of American efforts in the same battle, which were significant.

I would like to see US politicians mention Britain, a lot. But I think possibly with your forces withdrawing from southern Iraq as well as the impression in our country of an overall Euro sentiment not liking America nor wanting to fight terror, our politicians may not feel its necessary. And they usually only say what they think is necessary, to Americans.

I'm not arguing your point, really.

Tony Makara

I'm most concerned by John McCain's comments on Russia. If the Russian move towards more autocratic rule is to be checked then they must continue to be engaged at the G-8. Nations that trade with Russia need to make such trade conditional. The new economic powerhouses like Russia and China need the world as a willing recipient of trade, for that reason the west has a great deal of leverage and can use trade as a way of guiding these nations over human rights etc.


I have to agree with Steevo on why US politicians don't mention Britain.

Malcolm Dunn

McCain was by far my favourite candidate for the presidential election.However I'm extremely disappointed to read this. He appears to have learned very little from the past few years and simply wishes to 'stand up' to any country that disagrees with the USA. Is this code for declaring war?

Oberon Houston

I also forgot to mention Suez above. Eisenhower made a very astute call here by refusing to support the Anglo-French invasion. By protecting sovereign rights in Egypt, the US could now force Russia to also stay out of the Middle East & put pressure on them wrt Hungary, which was kicking off at the same time. Point is, that foreign policy can be most effective when it seeks to prevent a chain of events by protecting the status quo. McCain is suggesting the exact opposite above - and in doing so is inviting a chain of events to begin, and nobody can predict where they will lead. In the current 'new-world order' shake down, that is a potentially very dangerous game to play. The US is top at the moment and can best protect that position by seeking a passive-aggressive stance, not an active aggressive interventionist policy that by-passes established institutions of international law. Follow that route, and its a green light for everyone to do what they want. Putin would love that.

David McEwan Hill

The agenda of a lunatic whose simplistic views could plunge the world back into the cold war and even nuclear holocaust.
I'm surprised that there is support for him expressed even on this site.
Does it still escape the notice of many that the two biggest disasters costing many hundreds of thousands of innocent lives have been visited on our world by the USA and madmen like McCain?


Some of the points here by Brits do appear to confirm why US politicians don't care to mention their country when fighting terror or containing oppressive threatening regimes.

Oberon, we haven't prospered in spite of being in Iraq and Afghanistan? Tell the Iraqis we shouldn't have taken out Saddam, or the Afghans the Talaban. Tell the Grenadians we shouldn't have taken out their thug, stopped Cuba's attempt to spread communism, and they are not to have any more Thanksgiving Day. You know these folks would be better off now; you're not there, you're on the other side of the world, but heh so what. And you blame us for Cuba? What do you mean, there's a problem there? And we're at fault? And things would be different, really better or something if it wasn't for the United States? I always thought it was, communism, and a life-long thug at the helm. On this one be safe and just come to Florida and take your case to our Cuban community. And much of Latin America not wanting to be our "friends"? Oh dear I'm at a loss again, what is there about us that their thugs, dictators, left-wing media with trendy anti-Americanism don't like?

Finally, you go back to 1812? Nonsense. And cute angle you wanna place on it implying sleazy US motivations, er lack of bravery or whatever. You want some justification or something for the British empire and nonjustification for the US? Don't go there, YOUR country doesn't look so good. Yours is a rather pathetic, sorry and still typical anti-American bent. Too much of your post is all about you. Going back to 1812 oh brother, like we had a country for how long.

Bypass "established institutions of international law". In other words, the most corrupt thug-loving Jew-hating capitalist-hating American-hating institution going: the United Nations.


Tony Makara,

I agree with you on China.

China has legitimate reasons for wanting to enhance its military capabilities. Chinese history did not begin when Mao made his proclamation at Tiananmen in 1949. Last century China suffered greatly from external aggression - The Boxer Rebellion and its aftermath, The rape of Naking, Unit 731 and various Japanese atrocities.

No one in China wants a weak China.

I am yet to see any serious Western politician take this into account.

Taiwan is a tricky issue. Taiwanese are among the biggest investors in the Chinese market. I have my doubts as to whether the Chinese or the Taiwanese governments seriously want to rock the boat.

On the issue of economics, I have a feeling that we currently over-estimate the amount of economic leverage we have over China. We are so used to Walmart priced goods (made with 20 cents an hour labour). There is no way we can compete with those prices - and China (and Wall Street) knows it. The only other nation that could compete with China on scale and cost is India - but India's infrastructure is light years behind China's.

(America's industrial production was 2.7 trillion while that of China was 2.17 trillion adjusted for PPP. We are not dealing with small fry here)

I also think it rather odd to go bash China on Burma, yet give India a free pass. Afterall, China IS STILL a dictatorship unlike India. India has substantial leverage in Burma and should be held to task.

The future of Zimbabwe is in the hands of Thabo Mbeki - not China. We need to tell him that to his face. If there was a case for humanitarian intervention, Darfur is it. We should ignore China, assemble a force and intervene. It will save lives and teach China an important lesson.

Tony Makara

I'm in favour of giving China trade under the following conditions. Their trade must not put our entrepreneurs at a disadvantage, ie, the way the Chinese cook their currency to gain a competitive advantage over western traders, something the Americans are trying to address by using similar means. The great danger is that China will gain a foothold in Africa and milk that continents natural commodities for their own end.

The Chinese must respect the autonomy of Taiwan, and human rights in general. A regime that still executes local officials who don't meet targets on so-called 'corruption' charges, is still a long way away from reaching western standards of human rights. China must allow open and free access to the internet. The way the regime currently filters content tells us a lot about the way they interpret the concept of freedom.

There is, of course, a leading role for China in the world but the Chinese need to understand that they must adhere to western standards of behaviour if they are to be accepted and respected as a nation.


"Does it still escape the notice of many that the two biggest disasters costing many hundreds of thousands of innocent lives have been visited on our world by the USA and madmen like McCain?"

What are they, David McEwan Hill? Like some other lefty Brit posters you like to make allegations but when called upon to substantiate them you disappear, like the moronic person who said that "all the wars of the last 50 years were started by the US". When we asked him to name them, he never responded. So, I'm asking you to name those "two biggest disasters"? You know, your educational system is probably the worst I've seen in the western hemisphere. I've never seen so many people who make assertions with absolutely no justification for them.

It just makes you look stupid. And it looks like your leaders are selling you out to the EU. But of course, you ignore that elephant in the living room.... sort of like straining the gnat and swallowing the camel.

Tony Makara

Atheliing, interesting point on British education. I'm afraid I have to concede that 95% of our education system needs a complete overhaul, fortunately the top 5% of universities in Britain as as good as anything else in the world. Hopefully the future Conservative government can carry out a root and branch reform of our education system and end the scandal of ten year olds not being able to read.

Its been an interesting discussion on John McCain today, although I don't agree with his world-view I certainly respect him as a soldier of integrity. The one image of John McCain that sticks in my mind is seeing him after he just watched a video of the murder of Nicholas Berg and the anger on John's face spoke volumes about his feelings at that time. He is definitely a good fellow, however I can't agree with the main bulk of his stance.


Tony Makara,

The key beneficiaries of a weak RMB are AMERICAN businesses with significant operations in China (General Motors, Walmart and most of the Fortune 500 list). To break it down, a weak RMB means higher margins for Apple IPODs manufactured in Guangzhou.

This is precisely why both political parties will make the right noises but do precious little.

How can we talk seriously about human rights in China when American companies like Yahoo, Google and Cisco are providing the techonology used to track dissidents?

Internet dissident Wang Xiaoning was sentenced to 10 years in prison because Yahoo China sent his email details to Chinese authorities.

Was Yahoo sanctioned in the US? Not really.

Will Yahoo China do that again? Yes.

Will Yahoo leave China over a trivial issue like the jailing of a dissident? No.

Lenin said that "Capitalists will gladly sell us the rope we'll use to hang them with". China is proving Lenin right.

We are caught between a rock and a hard place - corporate greed vs human rights. Corporate greed will always win and the Chinese leadership knows that.

Please never use language like "but the Chinese need to understand that they must adhere to western standards of behaviour if they are to be accepted and respected as a nation." when you are talking to either Chinese or Russians. Find a way of expressing the same thought in a different language.

Oberon Houston

Steevo, The US have not prospered in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite being the movie equivalent of the Imperial forces in Star Wars. When Lucas can predict your foreign policy its scary, get afraid.

Stop getting defensive and take your mark. For one, I was expecting somebody to at least point out that if Clinton had succeeded in killing Bin Laden back in 1890 we wouldn't have the problems we have today.

I remember the Republican riots when 2,550,000 people protesting about the lack of response to the World Trade bombing.

No, I remember Bush talking to 2nd graders and looking non-plus at the aide who told him the World Trade Centre was under attack.

We all know what happened next. Dumb. Dumb?

Before you wade in, answer this:

a) How many civilians have died since Sadam Hussain was executed?

b) How many of them were non-combatants?

c) How many were women and children?

d) How many were US Troops

e) How many deserved to die?

f) How many did you care about?

g) How many of your children did you wave off?

Tony Makara

Chike, yes, the sight of western business scraping and bowing to the Chinese certainly turns my stomach. I certainly want to see positive and friendly relations with China, however it is wrong for business to overlook human rights violations in case it effects trade. There is very little reportage of the treatment suffered by Chinese dissidents in the western press. Our journalists are failing the people of China. The Chinese are almost treated like a people of uniformity by the western press, like numbers, almost as if they are a collective mass without individuals. Yet each year more and more people are subjected to prison in China for thought-crime. The China trade bandwagon is making western business blind to the violations of a despotic regime.


"Steevo, The US have not prospered in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite being the movie equivalent of the Imperial forces in Star Wars. When Lucas can predict your foreign policy its scary, get afraid."

That's kind of a new take, I have no clue what you're talking about but have your nightmares.

"Stop getting defensive and take your mark". You mean like going back to 1812 and draw pistols?

"For one, I was expecting somebody to at least point out that if Clinton had succeeded in killing Bin Laden back in 1890 we wouldn't have the problems we have today."

Is that supposed to be funny or are you just really screwed up with the significance of time upon your reality.

"I remember the Republican riots when 2,550,000 people protesting about the lack of response to the World Trade bombing.

"No, I remember Bush talking to 2nd graders and looking non-plus at the aide who told him the World Trade Centre was under attack.

"We all know what happened next. Dumb. Dumb?"

Indeed you're a bigot. A shallow ignorant fool.

And your final abc's don't add up, both with life now and under Saddam then. Answer your own cheap questions with your own numbers to satisfy your... caring for the Iraqi people?

Let's bring in the tyrants, thugs and money-grabbers from the UN. And let's, I guess also wish for the good old days of the British Empire.



Please, cutting and pasting childish talking points is embarrassing even for a Fairy.


Tony Makara,

We are failing in China for the same reason we are failing in Saudi Arabia - money talks.

Gross human rights violations are occuring in Saudi Arabia as we speak, but they are ignored because Her Majesty's Government needs to sell Eurofighters.

Sometimes I feel our governments are high priced whores. The Chinese and the Saudis can afford our price but Mugabe can't and that is why we are breathing down his neck.

Libya can now afford us. That is why Berlusconi, Blair and Sarkozy were in Tripoli in quick succession. That is why Sarkozy errected a Bedouin tent in the centre of Paris and that is why Ghaddafi will be treated to a State visit in London sometime in the future.

Guess where Tony Blair went to give a £200,000 speech - China. Guess who John Major visited few days ago - Vice President Lu Wei in Beijing. These gentlemen did not go to China to discuss human rights. George H.W Bush wasn't promoting human rights out of office, he was promoting arms sales to Saudi Arabia (with the Carlyle Group). Herr Schroeder (the socialist!) is now a well paid employee of Vladimir Putin.

In 2009, George Bush will be selling arms and Oil and Gas deals to the Saudis. I can bet my last penny on that.

Tony, what a leader does out of office tells you more about the sort of person he is than the hot air he blows in office. Only Jimmy Carter (a terrible president) seems to be genuinely interested in human rights. For the rest it is business as usual.

Now the Saudis and Chinese can see through bullshit (even if we Western voters can't).

We are not led by democrats, but by capitalists. Democracy is what we preach when:
1. It is convenient.
2. When can afford to (the monetary costs of refusing to deal with Bob Mugabe are neglible but we cannot afford to piss off King Abdallah or Hu Jintao).
3. In our spare time.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad


  • Tracker