Sunday, August 18, 2013

McCain's oversimplifications (continued)

McCain on a Sunday talk show: "Our interests are our values."

Oh really? Values are an important component of interests, but values and interests -- both contestable, of course, in terms of their substance -- are not identical.

For decades the U.S. gave more than a billion dollars a year in military aid to Egypt, as it still does. That (arguably) served U.S. interests, inasmuch as it supported the '79 Egypt-Israel peace treaty (or was thought to do so, at any rate). Certainly Sen. McCain did not oppose U.S. aid to Egypt during those years. But did that aid accord with U.S. values? No. The Sadat and Mubarak regimes were hardly models of democracy.

So now the Senator goes on TV and blandly proclaims "our interests are our values" as if this statement is simply a self-evident truth. Even by the standards of TV, that is one oversimplification too far.

Also, McCain seems caught in contradictions on Syria. What he presumably wants is for the U.S. to arm the "moderate" parts of the anti-Assad forces in a robust way. But how to arm them with major weapons without at the same time arming (or helping) the AQ-linked parts of the anti-Assad forces is not something the Senator seems very eager to address.

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