Robert McFarlane was National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan and is officially down as a supporter of John McCain, but Jacob Heilbrunn reports that McFarlane thinks know-nothing neocons will run the show in a McCain administration, “According to McFarlane, ‘the youngsters’ would run foreign policy the first year and then likely be ‘fired’ by the second after they mess up.” So that’s the grown up defense of McCain. He’s the kind of guy who’s likely to appoint a bunch of people who screw up, and then fire them. More:
My ears perked up when I heard this assessment because it confirms what I’ve been hearing elsewhere: while Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and other realist elders are consulted by McCain, his heart is with the younger neocons, the “beavers,” in the words of one McCain supporter, who draft the speeches and get the grunt work done.
I would suggest that this isn’t just a question of personnel and the neocons having groomed a younger generation that the realists haven’t. McCain’s choice of personnel reflects his own ideas about national security, honor, national greatness, etc. The realists McCain knows are all older guys who are sort of out of the game because McCain was a realist a long time ago in the 1980s when I was in grade school and these old dudes were practitioners. But his conversion happened a while back, and he’s been quite consistent in his adherence to neoconnish ideas (and, indeed, he’s shaped the direction of the movement and not just signed on to it) presumably because he thinks they correctly depict the post-Soviet security environment.
He’s wrong but it’s not like he hasn’t thought about this stuff or is some small-time governor being manipulated by his devilish speechwriters. These are his ideas and they’re bad ideas and lifelong Republicans who don’t like these ideas and don’t want to see them implemented should support his opponent.