In a speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council today, Sen. John McCain will argue “for the United States to work more collegially with democratic nations and live up to its duties as a world leader.” McCain’s address is being touted by the media as “a fresh acknowledgment” of the strain the Bush years have put on America’s relationship with its allies.
In his speech today, McCain will say:
Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies. When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic, or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them.
But missing from both McCain’s remarks and the pre-coverage of his speech is “a fresh acknowledgment” of the fact that McCain has often acted less than collegial towards international allies with whom he disagrees.
For instance, during the rush to war with Iraq, McCain took great joy in childishly bashing France for it’s opposition to the war:
MCCAIN: [The French] remind me of an aging movie actress in the 1940s who’s still trying to dine out on her looks, but doesn’t have the face for it. The cynical role–the cynical role that France is playing proves that if — if you are not — you cannot be a great nation unless you have great purpose. And they’ve lost their purpose. And it’s very unfortunate, and perhaps Churchill and Roosevelt made a very serious mistake when they decided to give France a veto in the Security Council, following–when the United Nations was organized. [CBS, 2/16/03]
MCCAIN: They’ve made clear their intentions to use whatever means to block our military action in Iraq no matter what we do. So they have to be, I think, treated for what it is, a — an election ploy on the part of the German leader. And in the case of French, simply kind of classic French misbehavior. [CNN, 2/10/03]
MCCAIN: Look, I don’t mean to try to be snide, but the Lord said the poor will always be with us. The French will always be with us, too. [Hardball, 2/10/03]
“McCain has been equally vehement regarding the French: ‘The Lord said the poor will always be with us, and the French will be with us, too. This is part of a continuing French practice of throwing sand in the gears of the Atlantic alliance.’” [Arizona Republic, 2/19/03]
Will the media give the contradiction between McCain’s speech and his record of French-bashing their customary “free ride?”
The National Security Network has a fact check of McCain’s speech here.