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Clinton and McCain Offer Foreign Policy Views

In paired articles published this month in Foreign Affairs magazine, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton argues that President Bush has chosen "to ignore bad behavior" by Iran, while Sen. John McCain criticizes Democratic presidential candidates for their plans to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Both Clinton and McCain, contenders in the 2008 presidential race, outlined relatively familiar plans for conducting foreign policy if elected next November. Clinton's article, entitled "Security and Opportunity for the 21st Century," pledges that she would help restore American standing around the world. She singles out Iran - and in particular the Iranian nuclear program - as a failure by Bush to conduct statesmanship effectively.

Although Clinton has recently taken a hard line on Iran, voting in the Senate to count its Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity, she says in her piece that if Iran is willing to end its nuclear weapons program incentive measures should be consiered. "The Bush administration refuses to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, preferring to ignore bad behavior rather than challenge it," Clinton writes. Offering rewards for compliance, she writes, "will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option."

The two candidates harshly assess the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. McCain writes that recent events in Iraq have shown "that America should go to war only with sufficient troop levels and with a realistic and comprehensive plan for success." But he holds firm in his view that the war is worth continuing to wage.

"So long as we can succeed in Iraq - and I believe that we can - we must succeed," McCain writes. "Democratic candidates have promised to withdraw US troops and 'end the war' by fiat, regardless of the consequences. To make such decisions based on the political winds at home, rather than on the realities in the theater, is to court disaster. The war in Iraq cannot be wished away, and it is a miscalculation of historic magnitude to believe that the consequences of failure will be limited to one administration or one party. This is an American war, and its outcome will touch every one of our citizens for years to come."

McCain continues: "That is why I support our continuing efforts to win in Iraq. It is also why I oppose a preemptive withdrawal strategy that has no Plan B for the aftermath of its inevitable failure and the greater problems that would ensue."

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Post Editor  |  October 15, 2007; 5:45 PM ET
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A Haul in South

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My recommendation is that anytime in the future that we decide to go to war we pass a surtax on the American people to pay for it. That way not only our military and their families will have to make some sacrifices but everyone will have to make some sort of sacrifice.

It will also focus the public much more on the cost of war. Nancy Pelosi recently stated that the Children's health program that the President so cavalierly vetoed would cost less to insure 10 million children for a year than we pay for 40 days of war in Iraq. If the people were being directly taxed for that 40 days of war they may be more likely to state their opinions on how we spend our money- and that is whatever those opinions are.

Posted by: peterdc | October 16, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

We're calling the military activity in Iraq a war. Consider that a war is a state of conflict between two countries. We are not at war with Iraq. We are, in actuality, not at war at all. There is no "win" to this conflict. "War on terror"? Why at this site? "War on drugs"? That hasn't been effective in the past 30 years or so. "War on poverty"? Not so good. Don't use the word war, please.

Posted by: sykes.rick | October 15, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Clinton and McCain, despite their differences, seem to have more similarties like strong statesmanship in Iran.

Posted by: kag42891 | October 15, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It's called an American war because something like 70% of you all lined up behind Bush's bandwagon to start it -- or should I say Bin Ladin's bandwagon -- "born 'n'bred in the briar's patch." Did you learn anything? Of course not, you are all as dumb as ever.

Posted by: johnnormansp | October 15, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"How is this criminal war an American war when the American people are against it?"

The American People are only mildly "against it." They tolerate it. When faced with the choice, they don't engage in any meaningful large scale opposition to the war.

Posted by: jmcgill1 | October 15, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

How is this criminal war an American war when the American people are against it?

Posted by: edshipwash | October 15, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

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