I’m pretty sure that re-vetting his entire staff to try to ensure that there are no more embarrassing incidents like SLORC lobbyists popping up in key campaign positions isn’t how John McCain intended to kick off his presidential campaign. This hubub over lobbyists for the unsavory does, however, tend to highlight exactly how radical and absurd McCain anti-diplomacy views are.
To him and his campaign and many of his supporters, the idea of so much as having state-to-state negotiations with a rogue state like Iran or Syria is repugnant and absurd. And yet all kinds of other business gets done with all kinds of other nasty regimes. I’ll confess that I own products manufactured in whole or in part in the People’s Republic of China. And guess what? So do you. And all kinds of American firms are doing business in China. The Queen of Jordan is the toast of Washington whenever she comes to down, NYU is opening a campus in Abu Dhabi, SLORC has lobbyists in the United States. This is the world we live in. All of these regimes do some pretty awful stuff. And yet doing as McCain has and promising to reconfigure international relations around the idea that we only have real diplomatic relations with countries whose internal policies we approve of is impractical and absurd.
And of course McCain himself doesn’t intend to apply it with any kind of logic or consistency. He’s not saying that having a meeting with Chinese officials constitutes appeasement or that we should invade Saudi Arabia to turn it into a democracy. But he is saying we should create a League of Extraordinary Democracies to kick ass globally without the Chinese say-so and then it’s just fantastical to think there won’t be a response to that. Any kind of serious policy needs to be made in the actual world of diplomacy and business where we don’t get to just pretend that these countries don’t exist or don’t have interests.