In his March 26 speech on foreign policy, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) laid out what Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria calls “the most radical idea put forward by a major candidate for the presidency in 25 years.” McCain, seeking to make “his most comprehensive statement” yet on foreign policy, declared that Russia should be kicked out of the G8, of which it has been a member since 1997:
We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia. Rather than tolerate Russia’s nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization’s doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom.
In his column, Zakaria writes that McCain’s radical idea “lacks any strategic framework” because “we need Russian cooperation” in order to address the “most important security problem[s] that the United States faces,” which is “securing loose nuclear materials” and stopping proliferation by rogue regimes. Now, according to McClatchy, it also appears that it is “impossible”:
The Group of Eight, or G-8, as it’s popularly known, makes decisions by consensus, so no single nation can kick out another. Most experts say the six other countries — Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada — would never agree to toss Russia, given their close economic ties to their neighbor. A senior U.S. official who deals with Russia policy said that even Moscow would have to approve of its own ouster, given how the G-8 works.
‘’It’s not even a theoretical discussion. It’s an impossible discussion,’’ said the senior official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. “It’s just a dumb thing.’’
McCain’s plan to boot Russia from the G8 isn’t the first idea proposed in the March 26 speech that has been shot down by reality. In the speech, McCain also spoke of creating a “League of Democracies” to “advance our values and defend our shared interests.”
But, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, McCain is already backing away from that idea because it was “greeted with alarm by some Republican supporters and wariness by important U.S. allies.”