Contrasting McCain-Obama views on Israel and
the Middle East
Senator John McCain has a different and wider view-his lens is larger- as refelcted in his own interveiw with Goldberg published today. He sees the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian as one front in the conflict between Islamic extremism and the West. Mccain comments on Obama’s changing views regarding negotiations with Iran-a nation that McCain recognizes is “hell bent” on destroying Israel and harming America.
I’m amused by Senator Obama’s dramatic change since he’s gone from a candidate in the primary to a candidate in the general election. I’ve seen him do that on a number of issues that show his naivete and inexperience on national security issues. I believe that the history of the successful conduct of national security policy is that, one, you don’t sit down face-to-face with people who are behave the way they do, who are state sponsors of terrorism.
Senator Obama likes to refer to President Kennedy going to Vienna. Most historians see that as a serious mistake, which encouraged Khrushchev to build the Berlin Wall and to send missiles to Cuba. Another example is Richard Nixon going to China. I’ve forgotten how many visits Henry Kissinger made to China, and how every single word was dictated beforehand. More importantly, he went to China because China was then a counterweight to a greater threat, the Soviet Union. What is a greater threat in the Middle East than Iran today?
Senator Obama is totally lacking in experience, so therefore he makes judgments such as saying he would sit down with someone like Ahmadinejad without comprehending the impact of such a meeting. I know that his naivete and lack of experience is on display when he talks about sitting down opposite Hugo Chavez or Raul Castro or Ahmadinejad.
McCain reflects on his long history of support for Israel. He has had numerous visits (Obama has visited one time). He knows the leaders well, both Palestinian and Israeli, and would have a hands-on approach if conditions warrant. His representatives would hold talks with representatives of nations such as Syria and Iran-but would not agree to meet face to face with their leaders, he notes that such meetings have been going on for quite some time now. He denies the claim that settlements are the stumbling block-stating that they are just one of the issues. He notes that, despite withdrawing from Gaza, Israel has been subject to constant terror from that area which implicitly recognizes that settlements are not the problem but that terrorism and the hate that stokes it are the problems. He expresses empathy for the daily threats Sderot faces.
He further recognizes the geopolitical threat Iran poses to America. He understands that Iran wants to drive American influence from the region to achieve their ultimate goals. He believes that a retreat from Iraq would lead to consequences for American national security that would be profound. He notes that their rhetoric reflects their views: America is the “Great Satan”, that Israel should be wiped from the map.
Doesn’t Barack Obama believe in the power of words?
Metaphorically, it seems as if McCain sees things as he would as a Navy flyer (which he was)-a broad view, across borders, always alerts to risks and dangers as well as opportunities. Finally, but meaningfully, he relates his own experience of torture as a prisoner of war in the hands of the North Vietnamese to the suffering brought upon millions of people during the Holocaust. He has a great deal of empathy for victims of the Holocaust and extends sympathy and support for a nation that , in part , was founded in the wake of those horrors. McCain’s view is far more compehensive that those of Barack Obama’s; his experience is far more extensive; his understanding is all the greater.