John McCain’s Buffet-Style Foreign Policy

A few unforced errors from John McCain on the campaign trail. At a town meeting in Denver, trying to build suspense for the upcoming roll-out of his energy plan, McCain assured an admiring audience:

My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will — that will then prevent us — that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

This is bad on a couple levels. There’s the obvious gaffe in suggesting that the U.S. is fighting the Iraq war over oil (something which many already believe). Then there’s the fact that the U.S. already gets the majority of its oil from regions other than the Middle East. Finally, regardless of how much oil the U.S. does or does not get from the Middle East, other countries will certainly still be getting it from there, developing economies such as China’s absolutely depend upon it, and thus securing and ensuring continued access to Middle East oil will be a central element of any global economic and security framework for the foreseeable future. One would hope that anyone running for president understands this.

At a different event, McCain tried again to distance himself from the “100 years” remark, and offered this bit of straight talk about America’s future presence in Iraq:


After we win the war in Iraq … then I’m talking about a security arrangement that may or may not be the same kind of thing we have with South — with Korea.

In 2005, McCain rejected the South Korea model for Iraq, saying that he “hoped we could bring them [the troops] all home.” Last August, McCain said that the Korea model was “exactly” the right idea. Then in November he changed his mind again, saying the he didn’t think the South Korea analogy was a good one. Then in January, he was back in favor of the South Korea model, offering it in support of his “100 years” remark.

Now it appears that McCain has settled on a little from column A, and a little from column B.

UPDATE: Here’s the video of McCain’s oil comments: